Tell It Like It Is (song)

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"Tell It Like It Is"
Tell It Like It Is - Aaron Neville.jpg
Single by Aaron Neville
B-side"Why Worry"
ReleasedNovember 9, 1966
Format7" single
GenreR&B, pop
LabelPar-Lo Records
  • George Davis
  • Lee Diamond
Aaron Neville singles chronology
"Over You"
"Tell It Like It Is"
"She Took You for a Ride"
"Tell It Like It Is"
Tell It Like It Is - Heart.jpg
Single by Heart
from the album Greatest Hits Live
B-side"Strange Euphoria"
ReleasedNovember 1980
Format7" single
RecordedSeptember 1980
GenreBlues rock
  • George Davis
  • Lee Diamond
Heart singles chronology
"Bebe le Strange"
"Tell It Like It Is"
"Unchained Melody"
"Tell It Like It Is"
Single by Billy Joe Royal
from the album Tell It Like It Is
B-side"I Was Losing You"
ReleasedJanuary 1989
RecordedOctober 1988
LabelAtlantic 45301
  • George Davis
  • Lee Diamond
Producer(s)Nelson Larkin
Billy Joe Royal singles chronology
"It Keeps Right On Hurtin'"
"Tell It Like It Is"
"Love Has No Right"

"Tell It Like It Is" is a song written by George Davis and Lee Diamond and originally recorded and released in 1966 by Aaron Neville. In 2010, the song was ranked No. 391 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1]

Original version[edit]

In 1966, Aaron Neville recorded and released the original version of "Tell It Like It Is" on his album also entitled Tell It Like It Is (Par-Lo Records). In November 1966, the track was issued as a single which peaked in early 1967 at No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 (behind "I'm a Believer" by the Monkees) and No. 1 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[2] the personnel on the original recording included George Davis arranging and playing Baritone Sax, Emory Humphrey-Thompson(Umar Shariff) on trumpet, Deacon John on guitar, Alvin Red Tyler on tenor sax, Willie Tee on piano and June Gardner on drums.

Heart cover[edit]

Heart covered "Tell It Like It Is" in 1980. It was a studio recording, however, it was included on their Greatest Hits/Live LP. It was the first of two singles released from the LP, the other one a live recording but both of them cover hits. The song peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 during the winter of 1981 and became their highest-charting single in the United States to that point. It did better in Canada, reaching number four.[3]

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Aaron Neville[edit]

Chart (1966-67) Peak
Canadian RPM Top Singles 96
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 2
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 2
US Billboard Rhythm & Blues Singles 1


Chart (1980-81) Peak
Canada RPM [5] 4
New Zealand[6] 4
US Billboard Hot 100 8
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 43
US Cash Box Top 100 14

Billy Joe Royal[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[7] 2
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 2

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1967) Rank
Canada[9] 35
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 76
Chart (1981) Rank
Canada[11] 45
US Billboard Hot 100[12] 87
Chart (1989) Rank
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[13] 36
US Country Songs (Billboard)[14] 51


  1. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Retrieved 2008-09-10.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 426.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Aaron Neville Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 6336." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. May 1, 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  8. ^ "Billy Joe Royal Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 2016-08-12. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  10. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1967/Top 100 Songs of 1967". Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  12. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1981/Top 100 Songs of 1981". Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  13. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1989". RPM. December 23, 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  14. ^ "Best of 1989: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013.

External links[edit]

In 1963, "Tell It Like It Is" was recorded by Little Joe and the Latinaires. The album was named "Unbeatable"