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Tell Him (Bert Berns song)

"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]

"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"

Early recordingsEdit

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 recordingsEdit

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.[citation needed]

"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”.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]


  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.