Nat King Cole and Ten Other Musicians Who Sang After Death
United States Library of Congress's Music Division
Halloween might be over, but with Natalie Cole coming to town, we can't help but think of those singers who have come back from the grave to croon a bit.
Cole had a career resurgence back in 1991 when she released an album of duets with her father, Nat King Cole, titled Unforgettable... With Love. The quality that made that album both a Grammy winner and chart-busting success was that by 1991, Nat King Cole had been dead for 26 years.
Here are ten other dearly departed artists who managed to sing with the living from the afterlife.
The big highlight of the Beatles Anthology television event back in 1995 was two new songs that had contributions from George, Paul, and Ringo based on two unreleased demos of John's, "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love."
So many movies and songs featuring Tupac were released after his death in 1996 that it sometimes seemed he was the world's busiest rapping ghost. His eeriest postdeath appearance was in 2012, when a Tupac hologram came onstage at Coachella to kick it with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
Eight years after death was all it took to milk every last one of Biggie's recordings. 2005's Duets: The Final Chapter featured Jay Z, Eminem, Ludacris, and many others all speaking ill with the dead.
The new Pink Floyd album The Endless River, due to be released this week, is based on unfinished sessions from the band's last album, The Division Bell. Keyboardist Richard Wright died in 2008, but surviving members Nick Mason and David Gilmour made sure to finish off the record.
The Chairman of the Board had his grave spit upon by Celine Dion back in 1999, when she threw all subtlety out the window to ham it up in a forced duet with Sinatra on "All the Way."
Forty-three years after his overdose, the guitar god released a new album in 2013's People, Hell and Angels, based on 12 unreleased tracks he'd been working on. The engineer who recorded the album claims that is the last previously unreleased material of Jimi's, but we'll believe that when we don't hear it.
Poor Whitney left the world too soon and is now left with no choice but to sing along with Barry Manilow. But she's not the only unlucky undead voice. Manilow just released an album filled with duets with the dead titled Dream Duets that features songs with Marilyn Monroe, Mama Cass, Sammy Davis Jr., and many others who will never awaken from this nightmare.
The King has been treated like a pauper buried in an unmarked grave the way his old recordings have been added upon by everyone from daughter Lisa Marie to Barbra Streisand.
Poor Satchmo couldn't rest in peace. First they dragged the legendary jazz trumpeter out of the grave for a Diet Coke ad along with Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney. Then in 1999, Kenny G overdubbed his terrible easy-listening alto sax playing on Armstrong's classic "What a Wonderful World," which makes you think the world is anything but.
I'd feel bad for the notorious perfectionist Jack-O, who just this past May had several tracks he deemed unworthy to release put out into the world with the album Xscape, but turnaround is fair play. Jackson pulled the same dirty trick on Notorious B.I.G. in 2001 on his album Invincible when Biggie was too dead to give his consent.
Get the Music Newsletter
Find out about upcoming concerts and special offers happening in the South Florida music scene.