Finding the right R&B funeral song means you need to decide the style of music and the lyrics fit your feelings and your deceased loved one's personality. Many R&B songs crossover into pop, hip-hop, rap, blues, and soul, making it easy to find the right musical style for the service you planned.
Powerful R&B Funeral Songs and Crossover Tunes
Funeral songs and music in the R&B genre may feature lyrics discussing heartbreak, memories, and regret now that a loved one has left. While all are not necessarily about the death of a loved one, all relate the feeling of sadness people have once a loved one has left them.
Like You'll Never See Me Again
Like You'll Never See Me Again by Jacob Banks covers Alicia Key's 2009 tune. It is all about cherishing each moment as if you'd never see the person again. It's about doing everything for the last time.
Really Gonna Miss You
Really Gonna Miss You by Smokey Robinson is about the death of a friend. Slow and soulful, the lyrics discuss how he will always miss his friend and everything about him but he understands it was time for the friend to go.
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart by Al Green speaks in generalities about fixing sorrow in a man who wants to live again. The song was featured in the movie Notting Hill.
Etta James' Stormy Weather is all about missing her man because they are no longer together. While it may be about a breakup, it could also be because he passed away. Lyrics go on to describe her mood and feeling like rainy, grey days.
I Will Not Let You Go
I Will Not Let You Go by Ray Charles is a song all about how he thinks of his love and doesn't want to let go. He even croons about being like a "mourning dove" with his song.
I'll Be Missing You
I'll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy feat. Faith Evans and 112 has a slightly more upbeat instrumental, but the lyrics are truly devastating as it discusses the death of a friend/lover. The singers discuss how they will miss the deceased loved one each day.
It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday
It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday by Boyz II Men is all about taking memories with you after saying goodbye to a loved one. In fact, the song's video is in memory of a deceased loved one.
I'll Be Seeing You
I'll Be Seeing Youby Billie Holiday is about all the various places the singer will see a lost love, from a summer's day to a cafe to the moon to the park to a wishing well. It's a lovely song that isn't overly sentimental but still gets the right feeling across.
One Sweet Day
One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men is about seeing a loved one in heaven again, "one sweet day". The slow tune is truly beautiful.
Lay Me Down
Lay Me Down by Sam Smith's video opens to the musician singing at a funeral in a church. Lyrics describe wanting to lay by the deceased loved one's side one more time.
Get Lifted by Tony Sway is an instrumental with a haunting overtone. The R&B star's piece is without lyrics and repeats the same melody. It is perfect for music prior to the service.
D'Angelo and The Vanguard sing Prayer that requests peace and love instead of the devil's harm. With lyrics reminiscent of Biblical prayers, the song is a good choice for those who want a song for a Christian service.
R&B, soul, and pop singer Emeli Sandé's Sparrow has lyrics celebrating the loss of fallen heroes who give courage to the singer continuing on a journey. It is a powerful tune fitting for the death of a community leader.
Freddie's Dead by soul and R&B artist Curtis Mayfield, was an instrumental in the movie Superfly. The lyrics are an anti-drug anthem that discusses the sadness of what happens when someone goes down that road and passes away. Though the instrumentals are upbeat, the message is foreboding.
Ain't No Sunshine
Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers is all about how life is gray after his love goes away. While it is speaking about a lover who leaves, it is also fitting for a funeral since many feel depressed and sad, or gray, once someone passes. And this time, the lover will be gone forever.
Gangsta Lean by R&B group DRS is about losing a friend and how they are going to have a few drinks to remember them. It celebrates the friendship they have and asks God to pass a message on that they miss them and will see them again.
These Three Words
These Three Words by Stevie Wonder stand for "I Love You." The singer reminds everyone to tell their loved ones this before it is too late.
See You Again
See You Again by Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth is a famous crossover that played at the end of Furious 7 to honor the life of late actor Paul Walker. It has haunting lyrics and piano by Puth, and crosses from pop to Khalifa's rap with some R&B undertones.
Journey to the Past
Journey to the Past by Aaliyah discusses gaining courage to look into the past and not get her heartbroken. While about a longing for love, it also serves well as a funeral song about thinking back on a loved one now long gone. It was featured in the animated film Anastasia.
Can't Let Go
Anthony Hamilton's song Can't Let Go references never letting go of love in life. However, with lyrics like "No matter what the people say, I'm gonna love you anyway; You are my life; I can't let go," it's easy to see it as a grief-filled song for a funeral.
Sweet Memories by Ray Charles is about how memories of his loved one creep into his dreams. He imagines his lost lover coming to his home and turning on his lights, which may be a metaphor for bringing memories.
R&B Gospel Funeral Songs
Along with crossovers into rap/hip-hop and pop, many R&B artists also made gospel songs that would be appropriate for a funeral.
I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry
R&B artist Donny Hathaway included an instrumental on one of his albums. The song I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry is a beautiful track that would be lovely for pre-service music or graveside service music.
God Is Love
God Is Love by Marvin Gaye is a Christian song that celebrates loving one another. It would be a beautiful song to celebrate faith at a memorial service or celebration of life.
The Day Is Past and Gone
Aretha Franklin's gospel tune The Day Is Past and Gone was one of her first songs ever recorded. It speaks about death being near and being protected by angels.
Jesus Promised Me a Place Over There
R&B/soul artist Jennifer Hudson's version of Jesus Promised Me a Place Over There has lyrics about how heaven was prepared for her journey home. It mentions no more pain, sickness, and toils, making it an appropriate song if the deceased individual had an illness that led to their passing.
His Eye Is On the Sparrow
Perhaps one of the most well-known gospel/R&B tunes for a funeral, His Eye Is On the Sparrow was recorded by numerous artists over the years. Footage of Mahalia Jackson singing it still exists on YouTube and around the internet today. R&B singers Lauren Hill and Tanya Blount performed His Eye Is On the Sparrow for the movie Sister Act II. Whitney Houston's version may be best known to modern audiences. Gladys Knight performed it at The Kennedy Center in 2017.
Sweetest Name I Know
Gospel singer Kirk Franklin's Sweetest Name I Know celebrates loving Jesus. The lines "Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still; In all of life's ebb and flow" speak to support during a difficult time, such as the death of a love one.
Walk Around Heaven
Instead of being filled with sadness at the thought of passing away, Walk Around Heaven by Patti LaBelle celebrates a spiritual life in heaven. Seeing loved ones and the Lord make it okay to be there.
Wholy Holy by Marvin Gaye is a beautiful song about coming together. It is a lovely song for a large funeral.
R&B Songs for Celebrations of Life
Music for a celebration of life may include more upbeat funeral songs within the R&B genre.
Memory Lane by Minnie Riperton talks about remembering a loved one who is now gone. A photograph brings back the good and the pain.
You're the First, the Last, My Everything
You're the First, the Last, My Everything by Barry White celebrates a love until the singer dies. The peppy love tune is a good option to dedicate to a deceased spouse.
Love Me Now
The R&B and pop artist John Legend celebrates enjoying love at this moment, because he could be gone at any moment. It is a wonderful tune to celebrate a deceased family man (or woman). It's all about enjoying the moment you're in and not taking life for granted.
Another song based on mood and weather, Chaka Khan's Clouds is about the raining down of "heartache and fears" because her lover cannot reach for her any more. It has a peppy, funky beat.
Holy Ghost by The Bar-Kays is truly an upbeat R&B song that will have people a-rockin' at a celebration of life. Invoking the Holy Ghost in connection with love, it celebrates how the singer feels about a loved one. It is a good choice for a happy funeral song.
R&B Songs for Family Members Funerals
When a family member passes away, having a song that speaks to their role in the family is appropriate at a funeral.
A Mother's Prayer
A Mother's Prayer by K. Michelle is a song from a mother to her child. The poetic, hopeful lyrics would speak to anyone at a funeral for a child or mother.
A Song for Mama
A Song for Mama by Boyz II Men celebrates the beautiful love of a child for their mother. It is all about how they think of her each day and are filled with love.
Dance With My Father
Luther Vandross's Dance With My Father is a beautiful tribute to a father who is dearly missed. In it, Vandross wishes for more walks, more dances, more chances to be with his father again.
Color Him Father
Color Him Father by The Winstons has a peppy beat. It honors all the ways that the man in the singer's life was a true father to him through all his actions. It is a wonderful choice for a step-father's funeral.
Missing You by Brandy, Tamia, Gladys Knight, and Chaka Khan was featured in the movie Set It Off. It discusses moving on after a sister passes away.
Easier by Kandi with Faith Evans was dedicated to Kandi's brother who passed away. The song covers the grief and process of mourning someone after they are gone.
Selecting the Right Funeral Song
Pick out a R&B funeral song that will move you. Ones that create an emotional response are best.