Johnny Cash‘s newly released CD Out Among the Stars debuted at No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Top Country Albums chart and No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. That might seem like a pretty impressive performance, especially considering that the artist himself passed away back in 2003.
But Cash is just the latest in a string of deceased performers who’ve released hot-selling records after their demise. Here are a few:
Buddy Holly, The Buddy Holly Story (1959). Released just a month after the singer’s death in a plane crash on “The Day the Music Died,” it became a big hit in both the United States and England. It included the hit single “That’ll Be the Day.”
Otis Redding, Dock of the Bay (1968).Redding, who also died in a plane crash at age 26, had the odd fate of having the studio LP containing his signature song, “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” released three months after he was gone.
Janis Joplin, Pearl (1971). Joplin hadn’t quite finished her first solo LP when she died of a heroin overdose, but that didn’t stop the record, which contained her cover of Kris Kristofferson’s and Fred Foster’s song “Me and Bobby McGee,” from holding the top spot on the Billboard 200 for nine weeks.
Jim Croce, I Got a Name (1973). Released three months after Croce’s fatal plane crash, the album included three songs that would become hit singles: the title track, “Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues” and “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song.”
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Milk and Honey (1984). The ex-Beatle’s final studio effort was released two years after his murder. It included a Top 10 single, “Nobody Told Me,” which Lennon had intended for Ringo Starr to record.
Nirvana, Unplugged in New York (1994). Released eight months after lead singer Kurt Cobain’s suicide, this CD, composed of excerpts from an MTV concert, won a Grammy and went platinum (sold a million copies) five times over. One popular track was Nirvana’s cover of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World.”
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