Tell Him

Album: Tell Him (1962)
Charted: 46 4

Songfacts®:

  • Bert Berns, using the pseudonym Bert Russell, wrote this song as "Tell Her." Versions by Johnny Thunder and Ed Townsend were released in 1962, but they both stiffed.

    When the production team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller left Atlantic Records to work for United Artists, they produced a new version by The Exciters, a New York quartet featuring three female vocalists. Released later in 1962 as "Tell Him," it became a big hit, reaching its chart peak on January 19, 1963. The Exciters followed with "He's Got The Power" (#57), and a "Tell Him" clone called "Get Him" (#76). They also recorded the original version of "Do-Wah-Diddy."

    Bert Berns, who died of a heart attack at age 38 in 1967, wrote several hits of the '60s, including "Twist And Shout," "Piece Of My Heart" and "Hang On Sloopy"
  • In the UK, this was a #10 hit for the female singer Billie Davis in 1963. A version by the Glam Rock band Hello reached #6 there in 1974 (also as "Tell Him," with the context changed so a guy is imploring a girl to go after another guy). The female duo Quentin & Ash took it to #25 UK in 1996.

    In America, the song charted two more times as "Tell Her" when it was recorded by Dean Parrish (#97, 1966) and Kenny Loggins (#76, 1989).
  • This was used for the soundtracks of the films The Big Chill (1983) and My Best Friend's Wedding (1997).
  • In 1997, Vonda Shepard covered this for the sitcom Ally McBeal. Originally, "Tell Him" was going to be the theme song for the show, but Vonda convinced the show's creator, David E. Kelley, to use one of her original songs instead: "Searchin' My Soul."
  • Dusty Springfield once said that this song inspired her to make the move from folk music to rock and soul music. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for above 3

Comments: 14

  • Miles from Vancouver, CanadaI don't know why... I just don't like this song.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 13th 1963, "Tell Him" by Exciters peaked at #4 (for 2 weeks) and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    Their original version of "Do-Wah-Diddy" entered the Top 100 later in 1963 on December 28th for a four week stay, reaching position #78...
    In June of 1963 their 3rd charted record was titled "Get Him" (peaked at #76, and its on You Tube)...
    R.I.P. Group member Carol Johnson (1945 - 2007).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn 1966 Dean Parrish did a cover version of this song titled "Tell Her", it peaked at No. 97!!! {Note: Later in his career he was a session musician with Jimi Hendrix, Santana, and Bob Marley}
  • Barry from Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom For me, Billy Davis's British version of 'Tell Him' has something extra than the other. The way the words 'I' and 'that' have more emphasis on them in the lines 'I know somethin' about love' and 'Tell him that you're never gonna leave him, tell him that you're always gonna love him' gives a stronger, more urgent beat and gives a stand-out 'chugging' effect to the whole song.
    Miss Davis should have had a massive hit but was dogged by bad luck. When her record was first heard and wanted, the public found they couldn't get copies. The hitches were caused first by the Easter Closedown and then by a production workers' strike. When normality was reached, the world had moved on and Miss Davis had achieved only 10th spot in the British charts.
    - Barry, Portsmouth, England.
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, Cagreatlittle record!I'm Steveo,and I approve this message....;)
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdKenny Loggins covered "Tell Her" in 1988 on his "Back to Avalon" album.
  • Dominick from New York, NyBrenda Reid was the lead vocalist in this song. The Exciters also recorded the orignal version of Doo Wah Diddy Diddy in 1963, which shortly thereafter became a huge hit for Manfred Mann.
  • Michael from Sydney, BosniaOn of my favourite 60's tunes - very punchy.

    Mike, Sydney, Australia
  • Lisa from Alabaska, AlIn the TV sitcom "Living Single", the main characters (Max,Sinclaire,Kadejah,Regine) perform this in a dream sequence one of them had. In the dream they were a 70's quartet.
  • Mel from Auckland, New ZealandUntil I found out it was by The Exicters, I thought this song was sung by Sandie Shaw. The main voice in this song is remarkably similar.
  • James from Vidalia, GaOops...I didn't read that properly. I've never seen My Best Friend's Wedding. D'oh!

    *wishes he could edit these*
  • James from Vidalia, GaYep, I always think of The Big Chill when I hear this one. A very good use of this song in that film. I don't even remember how it was used in Four Weddings... Hum...
  • Roger from London, EnglandBillie Davis won over Alma Cogan and the Exciters in the British hit parade honours
  • Steve from Salt Lake City, UtYears ago I lost the 45 I bought in 1963. I thought I took good care of it.
    I recently found it & it looks like I played it to death!
see more comments

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