Tell It Like It Is (song)

"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]

"Tell It Like It Is"
Tell it like it is by aaron neville us vinyl side a.png
One of side-A labels of the US single
Single by Aaron Neville
from the album Tell It Like It Is
B-side"Why Worry"
ReleasedNovember 9, 1966
Recorded1966
GenreR&B, pop
Length2:40
LabelPar-Lo
Songwriter(s)
  • George Davis
  • Lee Diamond
Producer(s)Unbeatable
Aaron Neville singles chronology
"Over You"
(1960)
"Tell It Like It Is"
(1966)
"She Took You for a Ride"
(1968)

Aaron Neville versionEdit

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 saxophone, Emory Humphrey-Thompson (Umar Shariff) on trumpet, Deacon John on guitar, Alvin "Red" Tyler on tenor saxophone, Willie Tee on piano and June Gardner on drums.

Weekly charts for the Aaron Neville version
Chart (1966–1967) Peak
position
Canadian RPM Top Singles [3] 8
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 2
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 2
US Billboard Rhythm & Blues Singles 1
Year-end charts for the Aaron Neville version
Chart (1967) Rank
Canada[5] 35
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 76

Andy Williams versionEdit

His 1975 version touched the top 50 in the Canadian country charts,[7] and was #16 in the AC charts.[8]

John Wesley Ryles versionEdit

"Tell It Like It Is"
Single by John Wesley Ryles
from the album John Wesley Ryles
B-side
  • "Run Right Back"
  • Same song (Promotional releases only)
ReleasedJanuary 1976
GenreCountry
Label
Songwriter(s)
  • George Davis
  • Lee Diamond
Producer(s)Johnny Morris
John Wesley Ryles singles chronology
"Reconsider Me"
(1971)
"Tell It Like It Is"
(1976)
"When a Man Loves a Woman"
(1976)

In 1976, American Country singer John Wesley Ryles covered the song for his 1977 self-titled album, which also included a cover of When a Man Loves a Woman. Ryles's version became a minor hit, reaching Number 83 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.[9]

Chart (1976) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs[9] 83

Heart versionEdit

"Tell It Like It Is"
 
Single by Heart
from the album Greatest Hits Live
B-side"Strange Euphoria"
ReleasedNovember 1980
RecordedSeptember 1980
GenreBlues rock
Length3:49 (Single Version)
4:30 (Album Version)
LabelEpic
Songwriter(s)
  • George Davis
  • Lee Diamond
Producer(s)Heart
Heart singles chronology
"Bebe le Strange"
(1980)
"Tell It Like It Is"
(1980)
"Unchained Melody"
(1981)

Heart covered "Tell It Like It Is" in 1980. It was a studio recording included on their Greatest Hits/Live album. It was the first of two singles released from the album, the other one a live recording but both of them cover hits. The song peaked at Number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the winter of 1981 and became their highest-charting single in the United States to that point. It had higher success in Canada, reaching Number 4.[10]

Weekly charts for the Heart version
Chart (1980–1981) Peak
position
Canada RPM Top Singles[10] 4
New Zealand (RIANZ)[11] 4
US Billboard Hot 100 8
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 43
US Cash Box Top 100 14
Year-end charts for the Heart version
Chart (1981) Rank
Canada[12] 45
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 87

Billy Joe Royal versionEdit

"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
GenreCountry
Length3:00
LabelAtlantic
Songwriter(s)
  • George Davis
  • Lee Diamond
Producer(s)Nelson Larkin
Billy Joe Royal singles chronology
"It Keeps Right On Hurtin'"
(1988)
"Tell It Like It Is"
(1989)
"Love Has No Right"
(1989)

In 1988, American country soul[14] singer Billy Joe Royal recorded a cover for His seventh studio album of the same name. Royal's version was released in January 1989 and reached Number 2 both on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Canada Country charts respectively.[9]

Weekly charts for the Billy Joe Royal version
Chart (1989) Peak
position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[15] 2
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[16] 2
Year-end charts for the Billy Joe Royal version
Chart (1989) Rank
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[17] 36
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[18] 33
US Country Songs (Billboard)[19] 51

Don Johnson versionEdit

"Tell It Like It Is"
 
Single by Don Johnson
from the album Let It Roll
B-side"Angel City"
ReleasedJune 1989[20]
GenrePop
Length4:30
LabelEpic
Songwriter(s)
  • George Davis
  • Lee Diamond
Producer(s)Keith Diamond
Don Johnson singles chronology
"Till I Loved You"
(1988)
"Tell It Like It Is"
(1989)
"Other People's Lives"
(1989)

Also in 1989, American actor and singer Don Johnson covered the song for his second studio album Let It Roll. Johnson's version was successful in Europe, especially in Germany, reaching Number 2 there.[21]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[22] 13
France (Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique)[23] 6
Germany (GfK Entertainment charts)[24] 2
Netherlands (Dutch Charts)[20] 6
Switzerland (Swiss Hitparade)[25] 6
UK Singles Chart[26] 84

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". RollingStone.com. 11 December 2003. Retrieved 2008-09-10.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 426.
  3. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - February 18, 1967" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Aaron Neville Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  5. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles of 1967 - January 6, 1968" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1967/Top 100 Songs of 1967". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  7. ^ "RPM Top 50 Country Singles - January 10, 1976" (PDF).
  8. ^ "RPM 50 AC - January 31, 1976" (PDF).
  9. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
  10. ^ a b "Archived copy". www.bac-lac.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 18 November 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  12. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  13. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1981/Top 100 Songs of 1981". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  14. ^ "Billy Joe Royal Songs, Albums, Reviews, Bio & More | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  15. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 6336." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. May 1, 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  16. ^ "Billy Joe Royal Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1989". RPM. December 23, 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  18. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 of 1989" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 6, no. 51. 23 December 1989. p. 6. Retrieved 17 January 2020 – via American Radio History.
  19. ^ "Best of 1989: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  20. ^ a b "Don Johnson - Tell It Like It is".
  21. ^ http://www.officialcharts.de/ersuche.asp?kategorie=chart&interpret_suche=don+johnson&titel_suche=&jahr=&cat=s[dead link]
  22. ^ "austriancharts.at - Don Johnson". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  23. ^ Steffen Hung. "Don Johnson - Tell It Like It Is". lescharts.com. Retrieved 2022-08-09.
  24. ^ "German Charts (Singles) > Don Johnson" (in German). charts.de Media Control Charts. Retrieved October 2, 2021.[dead link]
  25. ^ "Don Johnson - Tell It Like It is".
  26. ^ "Tell it like it is | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts.

External linksEdit