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45 Best R&B Funeral Songs for a Loved One

December 15, 2023
R&B funeral songs

I’ve handpicked the best RNB funeral songs, creating a playlist that provides comfort and solace while honoring the memory of a loved one.

This article offers a selection of soulful and heartfelt tracks, perfect for paying tribute and expressing feelings that words alone cannot capture.

Table of Contents

Top R&B funeral songs for a loved one

  • “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
  • “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men
  • “Missing You” by Diana Ross
  • “Sweet Memories” by Ray Charles
  • “Really Gonna Miss You” by Smokey Robinson
  • “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa
  • “These Three Words” by Stevie Wonder
  • “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Gerald LeVert & Eddie LeVert
  • “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men
  • “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton

1. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

Dolly Parton wrote the original version of “I Will Always Love You” in 1973 before Whitney Houston popularized it with her 1992 rendition.

The song describes everlasting love, which would be your message when honoring a deceased loved one. 

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

Quite a few songs express the agony of losing a loved one better than Boyz II Men’s “It’s Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.”

While the song reflects on the somber mood accompanying students after high school, the lyrics can describe any loss.

The song is perfect for anyone forced to leave something behind, becoming popular in funerals and memorial services. 

3. “Missing You” by Diana Ross

Diana Ross collaborated with Lionel Richie to record one of the best R&B funeral songs for a loved one who passed away. 

Ross expresses her grief after losing a close friend in Martin Gaye in the sentimental ballad.

The song takes a dark subject, capturing the somber mood around Gaye’s death. 

It is the perfect tune to express grief after losing a loved one.

4. “Sweet Memories” by Ray Charles

Sometimes, the best we can do is hold onto the memories shared with our loved ones.

That’s the message from Ray Charles’ sad song as he reminisces the good old days with the departed loved one.

It’s an incredible tune to play at a loved one’s funeral if you share beautiful memories. 

5. “Really Gonna Miss You” by Smokey Robinson 

“Really Gonna Miss You” is just about that.

The emptiness that comes with losing a loved one.

The smooth lyrics address the pain of losing a special someone as Smokey Robinson vows to keep the memories and honor this person even in death.

The line, “It’s really gonna be different without you,” expresses the pain in the singer’s heart. 

6. “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s hit is among the best tribute songs ever recorded.

The song was released in 2015 in memory of actor Paul Walker who died in a car accident. 

The lyrics express the pain of losing a loved one and the ensuing emptiness and loneliness.

Amid the grief and loneliness, the narrator anticipates a second meeting with the deceased in the afterlife, probably giving hope to the bereaved. 

The song takes the listeners through different emotions, with heart-wrenching lyrics that would make any bereaved friend shed a tear.

It’s been played in funerals, graduations, and just about any ceremony where loved ones are separated. 

7. “These Three Words” by Stevie Wonder

“When was the last time/That they heard you say/Mother or father, I love you.”

Stevie Wonder’s beautiful R&B song reminds us to say the three words as much as possible when we still can.

Only after a loved one dies are we buried in regret, lamenting all wasted chances to show our love properly. 

Tell your daughter, son, mother, father, grandma, or anyone how much you love them today.

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

Bette Midler is always credited with releasing the highest-charting version of “Wind Beneath My Wings” in 1988. 

But Gerald LeVert’s version with his son Eddie was refreshing, with smooth vocals about a father’s love.

It’s the perfect way to pay tribute to someone who meant so much to you and gave you a shoulder to lean on when you needed comfort. 

9. “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men

This is the perfect R&B funeral song to pay tribute to mom.

The lyrics honor mom for the special person she was, her sacrifices, and everything she did to give you the best life.

The song was part of Boyz II Men’s Evolution album, peaking at #7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

“You taught me everything/Everything you’ve given me/I’ll always keep it inside/You’re the driving force in my life, yeah.”

10. “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton 

Tears In Heaven” is doubtless one of the most heartbreaking songs ever. 

The narration is based on the tragic death of the singer’s son, Conor, at only 4.

Clapton was forced to take a 6-month break from music after experiencing one of the most devastating moments of his career.

The heartbreaking song has graced funerals and memorial services, continuing the same somber mood that often engulfs such events.

11. “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross

“Dance With My Father” is a chart-topping song from the early 2000s about losing a loved one.

The lyrics are relatable as the singer relishes the memories of his father, Luther Vandross, Sr., who succumbed to diabetes complications. 

Luther’s best memory of his father is dancing in the house, as addressed in the title.

The classic ballad is an instant tearjerker and one of the greatest R&B funeral songs for a loved one who passed away.

12. “Memory Lane” by Minnie Riperton

Minnie Riperton’s poignant lyrics in “Memory Lane” make the song a perfect tribute to a loved one. 

She released it during her fight with cancer, a battle she would lose two months later.

The profound lyrics are still in many people’s hearts, bringing a bittersweet memory of Minnie Riperton and what she meant to her fans. 

13. “Show You” by Baby Rose

The most devastating part of losing a loved one is that you’ll never see them again.

That leaves you with an endless longing, wishing you could be with this special someone just one more time. 

Baby Rose reflects on an uncertain relationship in “Show You,” talking about how much she misses this person.

While the lyrics could address the post-breakup feeling, they share the same emotions of losing a loved one. 

That makes the song a stunning tribute to a deceased loved one. 

14. “Miss You” by Aaliyah

“Miss You” expresses the emptiness of living without a loved one. 

While the song doesn’t mention death, the lyrics perfectly capture the loneliness of being away from someone special, making it a constant feature in funerals. 

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

Another upbeat song that speaks directly to the listener.

“Missing You” can be interpreted as a cheery song with heavy lyrics about missing a loved one. 

Despite the present grief, the singer sees a ray of hope, convinced the pain will lessen. 

16. “Hero” by Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey’s song is perfect for paying tribute to the heroes in your life.

This could be a parent, friend, sibling, or anyone who greatly influenced your life.

Let the lyrics speak when you’re absorbed in emotions and can’t find the right ones to express your grief. 

17. “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole & Natalie King Cole

Many assume “Unforgettable” was written for a romantic interest because the lyrics exemplify unconditional love. 

And while we could safely assume that’s true, the same lyrics also sum up a father-daughter bond, making it the best song to pay tribute to your father.

18. “Bye Bye” by Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey’s R&B song is a universal tribute to all the departed souls worldwide and the singer’s conversation with her deceased father.

The song was part of Carey’s E=MC² studio album, featuring pop and R&B elements. 

Whether a child, best friend, mother, father, brother, or son, this song was written for all bereaved individuals. 

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

Otis Redding’s soulful love ballad expresses the magnitude of his love.

He loves the addressee so much that he would go anywhere with them. 

It’s the best tribute for someone you shared a strong bond with, even in death.

20. “Exhale” by Sabrina Carpenter 

You will want to exhale for a minute when having trouble overcoming your problems.

While Sabrina Carpenter’s “Exhale” may not be an outright funeral song, it expresses the burden of overwhelming obstacles.

Losing a loved one can make you feel that way as you ponder your next move. 

21. “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday’s golden oldie goes back to the 1940s when it came to the spotlight with the Second World War. 

The lyrics describe the grief of losing a loved one.

As a timeless classic, the lyrics resonate with anybody battling loss.  

22. “Know” by Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige’s inspiring song is the perfect tribute to mothers and other female figures who sacrifice a lot to give you a better life.

The narrator describes women’s sacrifices and why they are the unsung heroines in our lives.

It’s the perfect way to honor all the queens and princesses in your life. 

23. “Color Him Father” by The Winstons

The boy in The Winstons’ emotional song can’t hide his pain after losing a stepdad who meant the world to him.

The stepfather was a true gentleman who stepped up and treated the widowed mom’s seven children as if they were his own. 

The song’s lyrics resonated with victims of the Vietnam War, giving them strength and hope to move on.

24. “Footprints in the Sand” by Leona Lewis 

Leona Lewis’ chart-topping ballad is what you need to honor your deceased father and hero.

The powerful song is a touching tribute to the ones who have inspired us the most in life.

The lyrics are sung from the point of view of the departed souls, reminding the living that they are with them.

Footprints, in this case, represent the indelible imprints of a departed loved one. 

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

Alicia Keys’ song is about “living every moment as if it’s your last.”

The beautiful ballad reminds us to cherish every moment because that’s what counts. 

The powerful song peaked at #12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, receiving positive reviews from music critics. 

26. “Daddy’s Lessons” by Beyoncé 

“Came into this world/Daddy’s little girl/And daddy made me a soldier out of me (ooh-ooh)/Daddy made me dance/And daddy held my hand (ooh-ooh)/And daddy liked his whiskey with his tea.”

Beyoncé’s song is one of the best daughter-father tributes from a female R&B singer

The song expresses the lessons learned from the influential dad and the indelible imprint he’s left on his lovely daughter.

Daughters will find this one quite relatable.

27. “So Alone” by Men at Large

Death is an agonizing experience.

And realizing your loved one is gone forever only aggravates the pain, making it look like your world is ending. 

Men at Large understand the emptiness that comes with losing a loved one. 

And so is their “So Alone” song, sharing the pain and emotion of being without someone you love.

The lyrics describe the realization that this one special person is gone forever and the longing to be with them just one more time. 

28. “Sparrow” by Emeli Sande

Emeli Sande’s “Sparrow” is the uplifting song you need when mourning a loved one. 

It was written to bring hope and uplift anyone going through tough times. 

No matter the extent of grief, the dark moment will ultimately pass.

29. “Love Me Now” by John Legend

“Love Me Now” acknowledges the uncertainties of life, noting that life is as fragile as it can get, and we never know what tomorrow may bring.

The music video emphasizes the same message, encouraging everyone to live in the moment and share the love while they still can.

“Who’s gonna love me when you’re gone?” 

30. “River” by Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges’ “River” is a redemption song about getting born again. 

It is a song about faith, expressing the protagonist’s desire to change his sinful ways and start a new life.

It is a perfect funeral song to encourage the bereaved and spread a message of hope and the afterlife. 

31. “I Miss You” by Beyoncé 

It’s almost impossible to fill the void left by a departed loved one. 

Even if the pain decreases with time, the feeling of emptiness persists.

That’s where Beyoncé’s emotional R&B song comes in.

“I Miss You” is about the longing for a loved one after they are gone, wishing to be with them and share the beautiful memories again.

32. “Walk Around Heaven” by Patti LaBelle

Sometimes, we must accept death as God’s will, no matter how painful.

It’s even better if you believe in the afterlife, giving you hope that someday, you will reunite with a departed loved one. 

Patti LaBelle’s song echoes the same message, glorifying spiritual existence while talking about a happy place where our loved ones go to.

It gives you the courage to keep pushing even in trying times. 

33. “Fix You” by Coldplay

Coldplay’s emotional song continues to grace funerals and memorial services because of its somber mood, always associated with solemn occasions. 

It is the perfect song to lift your mood when you feel lost and dejected. 

The touching lyrics are perfect for funerals and the bereaved individuals struggling to overcome grief. 

34. “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy ft. Faith Evans

The least we can expect when a celebrated rapper meets a famous R&B singer is a beautiful song to lift anyone’s spirits.

Puffy Daddy and Faith Evans don’t disappoint on this one, exploring the theme of death and the afterlife in the most inspiring way.

The song was a tribute to the famous rapper and Faith Evan’s husband, The Notorious B.I.G., who was tragically shot dead in 1997. 

“I’ll Be Missing You” won the duo a Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Duo or Group in 1998, putting it among the best R&B funeral songs for a loved one. 

35. “The Day Is Past And Gone” by Aretha Franklin 

Aretha Franklin’s “The Day Is Past And Gone” combines R&B and gospel elements and was one of her first releases after launching her music career.

The song is a prayer for God’s guidance as we walk life’s journey before reuniting with our departed loved ones in heaven.

“The day is past and gone/The evening shades appear/O may we all remember well/The night of death draws near.” 

36. “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” by AI Green

Breakups and deaths have one thing in common; the difficulty of moving on after losing someone who meant everything to you.

That’s why AI Green’s R&B song appears on this list despite its straightforward message of broken love.

When you lose a loved one, you slowly learn to move on by accepting reality.

It’s not the easiest thing to do, but we have no choice. 

The singer poses a series of rhetorical questions to express the extent of grief.

37. “Prayer” by D’Angelo and The Vanguard

D’Angelo and The Vanguard’s song begins with a skewed version of the Lord’s Prayer, seeking God’s power and guidance throughout life’s journey. 

The entire song is based on the power of prayer and how it can help you walk life’s journey. 

“Prayer” is a great tune to honor your departed loved ones as you prepare to start a new life without them. 

38. “Can’t Let Go” by Anthony Hamilton

“Can’t Let Go” describes our strong bond with loved ones.

The unbreakable bond that sees you go through all the difficult moments together while remaining faithful to one another. 

Of course, this isn’t a funeral song, but the lyrics are perfect for honoring a departed loved one with whom you shared such a close bond. 

39. “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder’s song was about the birth of his first daughter, Aisha Morris. 

The lyrics fit multiple contexts, from the birth of newborns to losing a loved one and a kid’s lullaby. 

As a funeral song, it could be a touching tribute to a departed female companion like a mother, daughter, friend, lover, or grandma.  

40. “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey ft. Boyz II Men

Any bereaved individual will agree that you never stop loving someone, even in death.

And “One Sweet Day” echoes the same message, expressing the desire to be with your loved one even when they’re gone. 

The song was a tribute to those who succumbed to HIV/AIDS and has continued to grace funeral ceremonies and memorial services worldwide. 

41. “God Is Love” by Marvin Gaye

If your loved one was a staunch believer, this is the perfect song to honor them in death. 

The gospel tune speaks about God’s love, bringing hope and strength to the bereaved.

42. “Can’t Get Close” by Sampha

Sampha’s song is one of the most upbeat tunes on this list, with a powerful message of longing. 

The narrator misses a special someone, making it a great tune for funerals.  

43. “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” by Gladys Knight

Bible verses can be encouraging in tough times.

And Gladys Knight’s gentle gospel song relieves grief with lyrics inspired by the book of Mathew. 

44. “Easier” by Kandi

Grieving is an ongoing process.

And Kandi wonders if she’ll ever get over her sorrow after losing her elder brother, Patrick O’Dell Riley.

She’s felt lonely ever since her brother died.

This is one of the best R&B funeral songs for a deceased sibling.

45. “I Will Not Let You Go” by Ray Charles

Completing our list is Ray Charles’ masterpiece about deep love.

We are never told what happened to this person, but the narrator dearly misses them.

“I’d like to sing to you my love/Just hum like a mourning dove/Oh, I love you, I crave you, ‘n I always will.” 

Best R&B Funeral Songs for a Loved One – Final Thoughts

Funerals are always associated with gospel music. 

But R&B songs are just as excellent if they describe your loved one’s personality and life in the best way possible. 

The 45 R&B funeral songs above discuss heartbreak, regret, and grief, making them the perfect choice to honor a departed loved one. 

While not all of them are outright funeral songs, most of them share the feeling of sadness, blending soulful lyrics with a somber mood for honoring a loved one. 

Although grief is a continuous process, the choice of music can sometimes lessen the pain. 

We hope you will pay the perfect tribute with these 45 best R&B funeral songs for a loved one. 

You may also like: Best Funeral Songs of All Time

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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