R&B Funeral Songs

Often, funerals are held to gospel music, but it’s equally alright to explore other genres to match your emotions and the personality of your deceased loved one.

These R&B funeral songs provide the ideal blend of passion and remembrance for honoring the departed.

“It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday ” by Boyz II Men

Song Year: 1991

Boyz II Men released several songs about mourning, but this 1991 smash depicts the agony of saying goodbye better than any other. It’s an acapella version of the song, originally penned for a 1975 film, Cooley High. The soothing, gospel-inspired song reflects the loss of someone important and the inevitability of death.

“I Miss You” by Beyonce

Song Year: 2011

You can’t fill the void left behind by losing your loved one. While coping with the loss becomes easier with time, the initial shock is unbearable for most people.

Beyonce’s ode to emptiness propels her to our R&B funeral songs compilation. Its emotional lyrics express the longing that comes with missing a deceased loved one.

“So Alone” by Men At Large

Song Year: 1992

When you lose your loved one to death, you may feel that they are somewhere unreachable yet still existent. However, death is irreversible, and recognizing your loved one is not simply out of sight is a common grieving experience. Men At Large understood the loneliness and bittersweet wish to see a loved one again in their touching tribute R&B hit, “So Alone.”

“I’ll Be Seeing You” by Billie Holiday

Song Year: 1944

“I’ll Be Seeing You” is a golden oldie released in 1944, in the heat of WWII, when thousands were struggling with the loss of loved ones globally.

Even though the song was released several decades ago, its message is still as compelling today. The lyrics depict how the narrator will see her deceased loved ones, even though they’re long gone.

“One Sweet Day” by Boyz II Men & Mariah Carey

Song Year: 1995

This song portrays the experience of meeting someone you’ve lost in heaven. The beautiful and poignant collaboration between two R&B juggernauts is a homage to the people living with AIDS, notably Mariah Carey’s sister.

The R&B homage is now a well-known memorial tune. Most famously, it was performed during Prince Diana’s memorial service in 1997, demonstrating that it is well suited for various tributes.

“Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith

Song Year: 2014

Sam Smith’s lovely, calm voice shines through in his R&B tune “Lay Me Down.” The hit’s tear-jerking lyrics are about the desire to lay beside your fallen loved one’s side one more time.

It’s the anguish of knowing that you won’t meet your departed loved one again. The song is an emotional appeal, conveying feelings we’ve all experienced during grief.

“Unforgettable” by Natalie & Nat King Cole

Song Year: 1991

This 1950s classic hit is the ideal way to remember someone special. Natalie reworked this tune by editing and recording the original rendition by her father. This duet rendition presented Natalie with an opportunity to connect and cherish the memories of her late father, who passed on in 1965. The song is a touching tribute to your loved ones, even though you aren’t together.

“Walk Around Heaven” by Patti LaBelle

Song Year: 2006

Patti Labelle created an R&B cover of “Walk Around Heaven,” an iconic soul classic from the 60s by The Caravans. Instead of being saddened by the notion of death, this tune glorifies a spiritual existence in heaven.

Patti is eager to walk with her departed loved ones in heaven. This song may be a great source of solace for individuals who believe in an afterlife.

“Bye Bye” by Mariah Carey

Song Year: 2008

This song is about Mariah’s heartfelt dedication for anyone battling grief. The song depicts how heartbreaking it is to lose a person you care about and how difficult it is to move on, knowing they’re no longer in your life.

The lyrics are about Mariah’s estranged father, with whom she had brief but significant contact after his terminal illness. This heartbreaking ballad, sung over minimal piano and bass, provides a gloomy yet optimistic mood.

“Missing You” by Brandy, Tamia, Chaka Khan, & Gladys Knight

Song Year: 1996

“Missing You” is a heartfelt track about loss, yet it is also uplifting and hopeful. The song was adopted to promote “Set It Off,” a 1996 film, and became a top-ranking smash on the global charts.

The song’s lyrics address a departed sister directly, describing her untimely and unexpected demise. The narrator continues to state that while she misses her sister dreadfully, she acknowledges that time is a healer.

“Can’t Let Go” by Anthony Hamilton

Song Year: 2005

This romantic song is about loving someone unconditionally, despite the obstacles you face in life. While the song isn’t an exclusive tribute to losing a loved one, its unlimited love theme is suitable for a funeral.

The tune depicts how love can beat all odds and encourages the bereaved that death isn’t a barrier to love – you’ll continue loving your loved ones even after they depart. 

“Missing You” by Diana Ross

Song Year: 1984

This song combines a special delivery by Diana Ross with gorgeous lyrics penned by Lionel Richie, putting together two of the finest soul and R&B voices.

The lyrics tell how both artists grieve their friend and label partner Marvin Gaye following his untimely death. The sorrowful piece offers intense melancholy that captures you with touching melodies.

“Sparrow” by Emeli Sandé

Song Year: 2019

“Sparrow” is Emeli’s homage to someone who everyone idolizes. The song features a military drum roll production and Sandé’s powerful vocals, enhancing it into a powerful and moving song.

The lyrics have a strong gospel flavor, honoring the death of fallen heroes who inspire Emeli to press on with her quest. It’s a powerful song appropriate for a befitting send-off for a community leader.

“Fix You” by Coldplay

Song Year: 2005

Coldplay’s “Fix You” is an amazing depiction of grief and despair. The song is popular in funerals for its gloomy sound and passionate lyrics. “Fix You” is about genuine love, supporting someone in need, and overcoming mistakes.

It’s a tune you can feature in your loved one’s funeral playlist or dedicate to a bereaved loved one to let them know you will always stand with them, even in tough times.

“Sweet Memories” by Ray Charles

Song Year: 1970

“Sweet Memories” is a track about reminiscing about a departed loved one instead of saying goodbye. The lyrics depict a lover who delighted the narrator, but her memories now make him melancholy.

He envisions his long-lost sweetheart visiting him and switching on his lights, which could symbolize bringing back memories. It’s a great tune to play at the funeral of your female loved one.

“Like You’ll Never See Me Again” by Alicia Keys

Song Year: 2007

The title is self-explanatory. This song is about living each moment as if it were the last. It’s a smoochy, sensuous soul song crafted around a subtle, Oriental-sounding piano theme that allows Keys to showcase her tremendous vocals.

Alicia reminds listeners that they never know when it’s time to bid goodbye to their loved ones, so they must act as though every kiss is their last.

“Footprints in the Sand” by Leona Lewis

Song Year: 2007

“Footprints in the Sand” goes deeper than just walking on the beach. The title symbolizes the unseen footprints our loved ones imprint in our hearts and reminds listeners to continue cherishing them, even after they depart.

This ballad allows Leona to demonstrate her remarkable vocal range, backed by choir background vocals, giving the song a religious vibe.

“God Is Love” by Marvin Gaye

"God Is Love" by Marvin Gaye

Song Year: 1971

Marvin Gaye isn’t known for gospel tracks, but in 1971, he released one of the most inspiring gospel tunes based on his faith journey. This song brings Marvin’s signature soul melodies into R&B, delivering intricate harmonies, cutting-edge production, and a soothing melody.

The devotional ballad is about God’s promises and is an excellent choice for a religious funeral, offering solace and hope to those left behind.

“Really Gonna Miss You” by Smokey Robinson

Song Year: 2005

There is no greater sorrow than the loss of a valued confidant. This smooth R&B song addresses the special agony of a friend’s death. Smokey Robinson’s track, “Really Gonna Miss

You,” expresses his commitment to always remember and adore his buddy. It’s a lovely memorial to include at any funeral service, especially if you lose a best friend.

“River” by Leon Bridges

Song Year: 2015

“River” is a religious ballad blending gospel and R&B elements – a wonderful soulful tune with soft guitar and percussion sprucing the soothing vocals. The song adapts the classic spiritual “Down to The River to Pray.”

It’s a great choice for a Christian funeral since it represents the religion’s hope for an afterlife. Even though the departed loved one wasn’t religious, “River” is a lovely yet hopeful song that may be a fitting tribute.

“Exhale” by Sabrina Carpenter

Song Year: 2019

Popular for her flawless bangers, Sabrina threw her fans a curveball with her emotional track, “Exhale.” The emotional tune nicely captures the sense of being burdened by commitments.

While it isn’t expressly about the demise of a loved one, “Exhale” captures the unexpected feeling of having to face life without the people you previously looked up to.

“See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth

Song Year: 2015

Rap meets R&B in this beautiful tribute hit by Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth. The song was penned in memory of departed actor Paul Walker and was included in the 2015 film, “Fast And Furious 7.” The lyrics are about how lonely life is without a late friend.

Also, the song shows how much the singer longs to be together with the departed loved one again. The song is heartrendingly lovely and hits listeners with several layers of emotional intensity.

“I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans

Song Year: 1997

“I’ll Be Missing You” is another match made in heaven between rap and R&B. The song is a tribute to Puff’s friend and mentor, Notorious BIG, who’d been murdered in a gang-related feud. This anthem explores themes around death, including the hope for an afterlife.

Although “I’ll Be Missing You” features an upbeat production, the lyrics are particularly heartbreaking since they address the demise of a friend.

“Stormy Weather” by Etta James

Song Year: 1960

“Stormy Weather,” softly wafting in Etta James’ melodic voice, has meaningful lyrics that you may identify with at a funeral for a fallen loved one. This song is about the narrator missing her partner as they’re no longer together.

While it might be due to a breakup, it could also be due to his death. The lyrics characterize her mood and feelings as gloomy, gray days.

“That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding

Song Year: 1965

Nothing beats an emotional soul-inspired classic R&B from the ’60s, and Otis understood this assignment in this 1965 track. The heartfelt tune employs nature to showcase how strong the narrator’s love is. It’s a lovely and eloquent tribute to a loved one who will be remembered long after they’re gone.

“These Three Words” by Stevie Wonder

Song Year: 1991

Stevie’s “These Three Words” addresses the importance of telling your loved ones how much you love them while you can.

When a loved one departs, many folks reflect on the missed chances to spend quality time with them. Among the most painful aspects of grieving is discovering you didn’t say the three words “I love you” enough.

“Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton

Song Year: 1992

This song is arguably Eric Clapton’s most iconic piece. The emotional song has a tragic background, a tribute to Eric’s late son, who died by falling off an apartment’s balcony.

The song has become a staple at funerals and memorial services for its sentimental lyrics and haunting melody. The song touches deeply on various aspects but provides hope of meeting your loved ones in heaven.

“Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross

Song Year: 2003

Luther Vandross released “Dance With My Father” in 2003, and the song became a worldwide smash, topping the charts the same year.

This classic depicts Luther’s pleasant childhood recollections, including dancing with his father to old records in their modest house. Vandross penned the song as a tribute to his late father, who departed when he was eight.

“Memory Lane” by Minnie Riperton

Song Year: 1979

This classic tune was released in 1979 and has stood the test of time for its heartfelt and relatable lyrics. The song incorporates elements of R&B and soul to create a wonderful homage to a deceased loved one.

“Memory Lane” addresses the experience of finding an old photo and reflecting on wonderful moments, wishing you could go back in time.

“Wind Beneath My Wings” by Gerald LeVert & Eddie LeVert

Song Year: 1995

“Bette Midler initially released “Wind Beneath My Wings,” but Gerald LeVert and his son Eddie gave this classic fresh air with a soothing R&B rendition.

The cover transforms it from a powerful song to an achingly lovely soft homage with a slower tempo. The song is an uplifting expression of appreciation for the father, making it a befitting funeral song for a parent.

“Show You” by Baby Rose

Song Year: 2019

Baby rose is a new act in R&B showbiz, but she’s already made a name for herself. Her “Show You” hit proves her superstar status – impressive lyrical weightiness combined with sensual, cavernous vocals.

The mellow lyrics can be regarded as a post-breakup tune or an homage to a deceased loved one, with the vocalist expressing how much they desire to connect with them again.

“Love Me Now” by John Legend

Song Year: 2016

John Legend combines his pop and R&B prowess in “Love Me Now,” a beautiful ballad that’s partly a love song and a goodbye.

In the song, the singer urges his lover to love him because they don’t know what the future holds. The song is about appreciating the moment you share with your loved ones and not taking life for granted.

“A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men

Song Year: 1997

“A Song for Mama” is a well-recommended song to commemorate your mother. The song will help you honor your mothers for all her sacrifices and the insightful values she taught you.

Losing your mama is one of the most traumatic experiences in life, and finding the right lyrics to memorize her is equally as challenging.

“The Day Is Past and Gone” by Aretha Franklin

Song Year: 1965

During her successful career, Aretha Franklin experimented with various genres, including gospel, which she explored from her teenage days. Her song “The Day Is Past and Gone” is one of Aretha’s earliest releases and combines gospel and R&B influences.

The song’s lyrics are a simple plea to the Lord to protect us as we travel through life and reunite with our loved ones in heaven.

“Easier” by Kandi & Faith Evans

Song Year: 2000

Another poignant funeral song that hits close to home as death approaches. It’s a lovely track sung by a mourner who takes advantage of the time to overcome grief. While the singer still cherishes the deceased loved ones, she can move on from the loss. This tune can serve as a reassurance to the bereaved that moving on after a loss is possible.

“How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” by Al Green

Song Year: 1972

This tune by Al Green addresses the difficulty of moving on after loving your loved one. It poses a sequence of unsolvable queries about grief to demonstrate that the correct answer does not exist.

You can learn to move on as time goes by, but the anguish will always be there. It’s one of the most difficult aspects of losing someone you adore.

“Prayer” by D’Angelo And The Vanguard

Song Year: 2014

For their soothing single “Prayer,” D’Angelo And The Vanguard employed a fusion of soul and R&B. “Prayer” The song seeks strength from above, opening with a jagged Lord’s Prayer.

This award-winning tune describes how prayer and faith can help fight the devil. The song goes on to explain the belief in salvation and an afterlife. If your deceased loved one was religious, this is a great way to honor them.

Best R&B Funeral Songs, Final Thoughts

Although planning a funeral service is daunting, the music you select can help ease the grief over time. Fortunately, R&B provides many options to get you through difficult times.

The timeless sound is ideal for soothing or connecting mourners with intense emotions. Our compilation above can help you find a track that matches your situation and may help you cope with your sorrow.

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