"Tell It Like It Is" was written by the New Orleans songwriters George Davis and Lee Diamond. Davis had been friends with Aaron Neville since childhood. They couldn't find a record label to release the song, so David started one himself: Parlo Records, and issued the single.
The song took off, climbing to #2 behind The Monkees' "I'm A Believer
," but the follow-up, "She Took You For A Ride," also written by Lee and Davis and released on Parlo, got no higher than #92. Parlo soon folded and Neville didn't muster another hit until 1989 when he teamed up with Linda Ronstadt to record "Don't Know Much
," which again peaked at #2 in the US. This gave Aaron Neville the record for the longest period between the first and second top 40 hits in the US.