On March 24, 1997 Céline Dion became the first artist ever to perform twice on the same Academy Awards night. In addition to singing "Because You Loved Me," she also sang "I Finally Found Someone" from the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces, recorded by Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams. Streisand preferred not to perform that night and Natalie Cole had been scheduled to sing her song instead. But Cole pulled out and two days before the Oscar night, Céline Dion was asked if she could do it. Although nervous, she accepted and managed to perform on the night.
A few days later, Streisand sent Dion flowers and a note: "I watched the tape afterwards, you sang my song beautifully and I regret I wasn't in the room to hear you, next time let's make one together. I really wish your song would have won, you are a wonderful singer." That note wasn't left without an answer and René Angélil called up David Foster to write a song for them, and the result was "Tell Him."
On October 7, 1997 "Tell Him" had its first runs on the United States radio waves. This duet was rejected however by non-adult contemporary radio stations. Even if the song was a large adult contemporary hit, Sony Music Entertainment cancelled the U.S. single release, because it did not have a broad enough support to put the song on top of the charts. However, "Tell Him" was a huge hit outside the U.S.
"Tell Him" peaked at number 2 in the Netherlands and Ireland, number 3 in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, number 4 in Italy and Switzerland, and was a top 10 hit in many other countries. The single has sold very well around the world, receiving platinum awards in the Netherlands (75,000), Belgium (50,000), and gold in the United Kingdom (400,000), France (400,000), Australia (35,000), Switzerland (25,000) and Norway (10,000).
"Tell Him" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 1998.
Céline Dion performed this song as a virtual duet with Barbra Streisand during the Let's Talk About Love Tour. However, Dion and Streisand never performed the song together live since recording it.
"Tell Him" was later included on both artists' compilations: Dion's The Collector's Series, Volume One and Streisand's The Essential Barbra Streisandand Duets. In 2008, it became also a part of Dion's greatest hits My Love: Essential Collection.
- 2 Formats and track listings
- 3 Charts and certifications
- 4 References
This song received positive reviews. Allmusic senior editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote, in his review for Let's Talk About Love that this song "shines the most brilliantly". In his review forHigher Ground he highlighted it and wrote: "Higher Ground comprises both traditional religious songs and new material (even "Tell Him," an overblown duet with Celine Dion, vaguely touches on that theme)."  Allmusic editor Matthew Greenwald in review for Tell Him single wrote: "Barbra Streisand always had a knack for choosing just the right partners to record duets with, and "Tell Him," with Celine Dion, is no exception. Their voices blend together extremely well on this song, with both singers trading off and joining together with a wonderful reassurance. Musically, the song is dominated by what is, unfortunately, a somewhat bombastic arrangement. This tends to get in the way of the very pretty melody. The overall arrangement seems to come out of the 1980s school of over-production, and it is a bit cloying. However, the vocalists take the song to a higher place with their performance, and the song and recording have aged fairly well despite of this."
EW editor David Browne wrote: "Streisand glides like buttah into the duet Tell Him — making Dion sound like margarine in the process — but the song is an Uberschlock ode to subservience."The New York Observer editor Jonathan Bernstein wrote positive review: "The centerpiece of Let’s Talk About Love is “Tell Him,” a duet with Barbra Streisand. Anyone who’s witnessed, through the cracks of his or her fingers, the video for “Tell Him” in which Ms. Dion relates to Ms. Streisand like a newly born fawn nuzzling up against its mother, will sense that this is no diva face-off. The two singers give each other room to emote, restraining themselves until the final choruses before transforming into something akin to a pair of drunks wrestling over the microphone on karaoke night."
Australian/European/Japanese CD maxi single
- "Tell Him" (radio edit) – 4:53
- "Everything Must Change" – 4:05
- "Where Is the Love" – 4:55