Tell Him (Bert Berns song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Tell Him"
Tell Him.gif
Single by The Exciters
from the album Tell Him
B-side "Hard Way to Go"
Released 1962
Recorded 1962
Genre Pop
Length 2:21
Label United Artists
Songwriter(s) Bert Berns
The Exciters singles chronology
"Tell Him"
"He's Got the Power"

"Tell Him"
"He's Got the Power"

"Tell Him," originally written and composed as "Tell Her," is a 1962 song that was written and composed by Bert Berns, who, when he did so, used the pen name of Bert Russell, and which was popularized through its recording by the Exciters. The song was recorded as "Tell Her" by Dean Parrish in 1966, and Kenny Loggins in 1989. Billboard named the Exciters version #95 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.[1]

Early recordings[edit]

The song was first recorded as "Tell Her" in 1962 by Gil Hamilton, aka Johnny Thunder, with Berns producing. "Tell Her" was also a single for Ed Townsend in 1962, before Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller produced the version by the Exciters, released as "Tell Him" in October 1962. "Tell Him" reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated 26 January 1963. A No. 5 R&B hit in the United States, "Tell Him" was No. 1 in France for two weeks and reached No. 5 in Australia.

In the UK, the Exciters's single peaked at No. 46, whilst a cover version by Billie Davis reached No. 10.[2] In Chile, Davis' version peaked at No. 1.[3] Another UK cover version by Alma Cogan did not appear in the UK Singles Chart, but it became the singer's breakout hit in Sweden with a No. 10 peak. In the Netherlands the Exciters's, Billie Davis's, and Alma Cogan's respective singles of "Tell Him" charted in tandem with a No. 17 peak. Cogan also recorded five alternate versions of "Tell Him" with her vocal being respectively in German, Japanese, Italian, Spanish and French; her French rendition of "Tell Him" reached No. 53 in France, where the Exciters version reached No. 1 there.

Dusty Springfield, en route to Nashville to make a country music album with the Springfields in 1962, was on a stop-over in New York City when she heard the Exciters's "Tell Him" playing while taking a late night walk by the Colony Record Store on Broadway: the experience persuaded Springfield to embark on a solo career with a Pop/Soul direction. She would recall: “The Exciters sort of got you by the throat...out of the blue comes blasting at you 'I know something about love,' and that’s it. That’s what I wanna do.”[4]

In 1983, the Exciters's version of "Tell Him" was featured on the soundtrack for the Lawrence Kasdan film The Big Chill. In 1988, it was featured in the Canadian drama Something About Love, and in 1997, it was included on the soundtrack for the film My Best Friend's Wedding.

In 2003, the Roman hip-hop collective Truceboys sampled "Tell Him" using it in their song "Forze del Disordine."

In 2009, the Exciters's version of "Tell Him" was included on the soundtrack for the DreamWorks Animation film Monsters vs. Aliens. In 2016, it was also featured in 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Later recordings[edit]

In 1963, the song was covered as "Dis-lui" (literally "Tell Her") by French pop singer Claude François, reaching No. 1 in the French chart. The same year, Ennio Morricone used the same orchestral intro for Italian singer-songwriter Gianni Meccia's song "Il pupazzo"/"The Puppet." In 1968, Katri Helena recorded the Finnish rendering, "Sano hänelle niin;" subsequently, an alternate Finnish rendering, "Minun on hän," was recorded in 1978 by Gulliver (fi).

"Tell Him" had its highest UK chart hit, number 6 via a 1974 remake by Hello, whose producer Mike Leander had cut an earlier version with the Glitter Band, which he felt could be improved upon. Hello's "Tell Him" also hit No. 12 in Ireland and No. 32 in Germany.[5] "Tell Him" would return to the UK charts in 1996 when Caroline Quentin and Leslie Ash, who co-starred in the series Men Behaving Badly, hit No. 25 with their remake, credited to “Quentin and Ash.”

In the United States, "Tell Him" has reappeared on the Hot 100 twice, both times as "Tell Her;" first in 1966 by Dean Parrish, which peaked at No. 97, and then in 1989 by Kenny Loggins, which peaked at No. 76.

  • "Tell Him" has also been recorded by Sonny and Cher, Josie Cotton and Vonda Shepard, whose version was heavily featured on the show Ally McBeal. In Shepard's version, the middle of the second verse of the song was changed to "...make your heart sing out."
  • Laura Branigan recorded the song in 1981 for her proposed debut album. The song was released as a promotional single, but it never charted, and the album project was aborted. After being unavailable for many years, the song was remastered and included as a bonus track on a 2014 reissue of the 1982 debut album she did record and release, Branigan.
  • Linda Ronstadt recorded a cover for her 1982 album Get Closer.
  • The Scottish band the Revillos covered the song in 1982.
  • In 1984 in Bulgaria, Rositsa Kirilova, in collaboration with the Brothers Argirovi, recorded a disco version of "Tell Him" titled “Избрах нарочно вас”/"I've Chosen You Intentionally." The selection--whose Bulgarian lyrics are unconnected to the original English version--became a major dance floor hit.
  • The British singer Annabel Lamb covered this song in 1982, using the artist name "Annabel." It was Lamb's very first recording. The video can be seen on YouTube.
  • In 1985 the Dutch band Babe recorded this song.
  • In American Dreams, Nicole Richie impersonated Brenda Reid, the lead singer of the girl group The Exciters, and sang "Tell Him" in the show.[6]
  • In 2007, Haley Scarnato performed this on the sixth season of American Idol.
  • The female regulars of the TV show Living Single performed a comic version[when?] of this song.
  • In 2009, Swedish singer Jessica Andersson covered it on her album, Wake Up
  • In 2011, a parody of "Tell Him" was performed on Saturday Night Live in a malt shop setting.
  • In 2013, the television series Glee featured its version of "Tell Him" in the episode "Sadie Hawkins."
  • Bette Midler covered the song on her 2014 album It's the Girls!


  1. ^ "100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time: Critics' Picks". Billboard. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Billie Davis". 1945-12-22. Retrieved 2016-06-29. 
  3. ^ "Billboard Magazine, July, 1963". Billboard. 
  4. ^ [1] ('Dustyology "Full Circle" transcipt' via the Internet Archive)
  5. ^ "Hello". 1997-11-30. Retrieved 2016-06-29. 
  6. ^ Lindsay MacDonald (2016-02-25). "ccc46891b17c642b13565d53b7d0f323 – Zap2It". Retrieved 2016-06-29.