Softly and Tenderly

"Softly and Tenderly" is a Christian hymn. It was composed and written by Will L. Thompson in 1880.[1]

Softly and Tenderly
by Will Lamartine Thompson
Based onMatthew 11:28
Meter11.7.11.7 with refrain

Allegedly, when evangelist Dwight L. Moody was in the hospital barred from seeing visitors although Thompson had arrived, Moody insisted that Thompson be let in, whereupon Moody told him:

Will, I would rather have written "Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling" than anything I have been able to do in my whole life.[2]

Thompson was a member of the Churches of Christ, where several of his hymns and gospel songs continue in use. "Softly and Tenderly" is the most widely known of his compositions and has circulated far beyond its origins in the American Restoration Movement. It is among the most prolifically translated gospel songs and has spread appealingly into the repertoire of various fellowships of Christendom.[3]

Selected recordingsEdit

"Softly and Tenderly"
Single by Reba McEntire with Kelly Clarkson and Trisha Yearwood
from the album Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope
ReleasedDecember 16, 2016 (2016-12-16)
GenreChristian country
Songwriter(s)Will Lamartine Thompson
Reba McEntire singles chronology
"Just Like Them Horses"
"Softly and Tenderly"
"Back to God"

Use in modern cultureEdit

The song was featured in the film Urban Cowboy at Bud's (John Travolta's character) uncle's funeral.

The film The Trip to Bountiful makes recurrent use of the song, particularly a recording of it by Cynthia Clawson.

An a cappella version is sung by Alessandro Nivola in the film Junebug.

The song's melody is tuned in twice in the movie Abrupt Decision, released 2011.

In November 2017, Carrie Underwood performed the hymn as part of the In Memoriam segment, which culminated in a tribute to the fifty-eight Route 91 shooting victims, at the 51st annual CMA Awards.

Performed at the funeral of Adele Stackhouse (Sookie's Granny), in True Blood.


  1. ^ Bye, P.C. (1982). Family Hymn Book: Chords Given for Guitar and Autoharp. Mel Bay Publications. p. 86. ISBN 9780871667137. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  2. ^ "2002 class of inductees announced". Lou Holtz / Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame. East Liverpool, Ohio. 2000. Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  3. ^ Finley, Gene C. (1980). Our garden of song: A book of biography of song writers of the Church of Christ. West Monroe, Louisiana: Howard. pp. 479–418.
  4. ^ Sforza, John (2000). The Andrews Sisters Story - Swing It!. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 239. ISBN 0-8131-2136-1.
  5. ^ Million Dollar Quartet, "Softly and Tenderly"
  6. ^ "". Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  7. ^ "". Retrieved December 23, 2018.