Tell Him (Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion song)

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"Tell Him"
Single by Barbra Streisand and Céline Dion
from the album Higher Ground and Let's Talk About Love
Released November 3, 1997 (1997-11-03)
Format CD single
Recorded 1997 Wallyworld, Record Plant Studios, The Hit Factory, Chartmarker Studios, Paramount Studios, Masterphonics
Genre Adult contemporary
Length 4:51 (Album Version)
4:53 (Radio Edit)
Label Columbia, Epic
Writer(s) Linda Thompson, Walter Afanasieff, David Foster
Producer(s) David Foster, Walter Afanasieff
Certification Platinum (Belgium, Netherlands)
Gold (Australia, France, Norway, Switzerland, UK)
Barbra Streisand singles chronology
"I Finally Found Someone"
"Tell Him"
"If You Ever Leave Me"
Céline Dion singles chronology
"Dreamin' of You"
"Tell Him"
"Be the Man"

"Tell Him" is a duet between Barbra Streisand and Céline Dion. It was released on November 3, 1997 as the first single from Dion's Let's Talk About Love and Streisand's Higher Ground albums.[1]

On March 24, 1997 Céline Dion became the first artist ever to perform twice on the same Academy Awards night. In addition to singing "Because You Loved Me," she also sang "I Finally Found Someone" from the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces, recorded by Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams. Streisand preferred not to perform that night and Natalie Cole had been scheduled to sing her song instead. But Cole pulled out and two days before the Oscar night, Céline Dion was asked if she could do it. Although nervous, she accepted and managed to perform on the night.

A few days later, Streisand sent Dion flowers and a note: "I watched the tape afterwards, you sang my song beautifully and I regret I wasn't in the room to hear you, next time let's make one together. I really wish your song would have won, you are a wonderful singer." That note wasn't left without an answer and René Angélil called up David Foster to write a song for them, and the result was "Tell Him."

On October 7, 1997 "Tell Him" had its first runs on the United States radio waves. This duet was rejected however by non-adult contemporary radio stations. Even if the song was a large adult contemporary hit, Sony Music Entertainment cancelled the U.S. single release, because it did not have a broad enough support to put the song on top of the charts. However, "Tell Him" was a huge hit outside the U.S.

The music video was directed by Scott Floyd Lochmus and premiered on VH1, on October 24, 1997. It was included as a bonus on the Au cœur du stade DVD.

"Tell Him" peaked at number 2 in the Netherlands and Ireland, number 3 in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, number 4 in Italy and Switzerland, and was a top 10 hit in many other countries. The single has sold very well around the world, receiving platinum awards in the Netherlands (75,000), Belgium (50,000), and gold in the United Kingdom (400,000), France (400,000), Australia (35,000), Switzerland (25,000) and Norway (10,000).

"Tell Him" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 1998.

Céline Dion performed this song as a virtual duet with Barbra Streisand during the Let's Talk About Love Tour. However, Dion and Streisand never performed the song together live since recording it.

"Tell Him" was later included on both artists' compilations: Dion's The Collector's Series, Volume One and Streisand's The Essential Barbra Streisand and Duets. In 2008, it became also a part of Dion's greatest hits My Love: Essential Collection.

Critical reception[edit]

This song received positive reviews. Allmusic senior editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote, in his review for Let's Talk About Love that this song "shines the most brilliantly".[2] In his review for Higher Ground he highlighted it and wrote: "Higher Ground comprises both traditional religious songs and new material (even "Tell Him," an overblown duet with Celine Dion, vaguely touches on that theme)." [3] Allmusic editor Matthew Greenwald in review for Tell Him single wrote: "Barbra Streisand always had a knack for choosing just the right partners to record duets with, and "Tell Him," with Celine Dion, is no exception. Their voices blend together extremely well on this song, with both singers trading off and joining together with a wonderful reassurance. Musically, the song is dominated by what is, unfortunately, a somewhat bombastic arrangement. This tends to get in the way of the very pretty melody. The overall arrangement seems to come out of the 1980s school of over-production, and it is a bit cloying. However, the vocalists take the song to a higher place with their performance, and the song and recording have aged fairly well despite of this."[4]

EW editor David Browne wrote: "Streisand glides like buttah into the duet Tell Him — making Dion sound like margarine in the process — but the song is an Uberschlock ode to subservience."[5] The New York Observer editor Jonathan Bernstein wrote positive review: "The centerpiece of Let’s Talk About Love is “Tell Him,” a duet with Barbra Streisand. Anyone who’s witnessed, through the cracks of his or her fingers, the video for “Tell Him” in which Ms. Dion relates to Ms. Streisand like a newly born fawn nuzzling up against its mother, will sense that this is no diva face-off. The two singers give each other room to emote, restraining themselves until the final choruses before transforming into something akin to a pair of drunks wrestling over the microphone on karaoke night."[6]

Formats and track listings[edit]

Australian/European/Japanese CD maxi single

  1. "Tell Him" (radio edit) – 4:53
  2. "Everything Must Change" – 4:05
  3. "Where Is the Love" – 4:55

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ Glatzer, Jenna (2005). Céline Dion: For Keeps. Andrews McMeel Publishing. ISBN 0-7407-5559-5. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^,,290337,00.html
  6. ^
  7. ^ Australian Singles Chart
  8. ^ Austrian Singles Chart
  9. ^ Belgian Flanders Singles Chart
  10. ^ Belgian Wallonia Singles Chart
  11. ^ Canadian Singles Chart
  12. ^ Canadian BDS Adult Contemporary Chart
  13. ^ Top Singles - Volume 66, No. 17, January 19 1998. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  14. ^ Adult Contemporary - Volume 66, No. 11, November 17 1997. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  15. ^ Dutch Singles Chart
  16. ^ European Singles Chart
  17. ^ French Singles Chart
  18. ^ German Singles Chart
  19. ^ Irish Singles Chart
  20. ^ Italian Singles Chart
  21. ^ Norwegian Singles Chart
  22. ^ Spanish Singles Chart
  23. ^ Swedish Singles Chart
  24. ^ Swiss Singles Chart
  25. ^ UK Singles Chart
  26. ^ Hot 100 Airplay
  27. ^ Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks
  28. ^ "Ewige Bestenliste - Singles". 
  30. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 1997 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 1997-11-31. 
  31. ^ "Certifications Awards 1997". Ultratop. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 
  32. ^ "Certifications Singles Or - année 1997". Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 1997-12-17. 
  33. ^ "Goud/Platina Muziek". NVPI. Retrieved 1998-12-31. 
  34. ^ "Søk artist i trofélister". VG-lista. Retrieved 2003-12-31. 
  35. ^ "Edelmetall 1997". Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 1997-12-31. 
  36. ^ "Certified awards search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2008-12-31.