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Tell It Like It Is

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"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 2004, the song was ranked #381 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


Original version[edit source | editbeta]Edit

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 #1 on the US R&B chart and #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[2]

Select cover versions[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Since Aaron Neville's original 1966 version, the song has been covered by numerous artists including the following:

  • 1967: Otis Redding and Carla Thomas covered the song on their 1967 album entitled King & Queen.
  • 1967: Percy Sledge covered the track on his 1967 album, The Percy Sledge Way.
  • 1971: Nina Simone released a rendition of the song on her 1971 album entitled Here Comes The Sun
  • 1976: John Wesley Ryles released the song as a single in 1976 which reached #83 on the US Country chart.
  • 1976: Pop singer Andy Williams released a single of the track in 1976 which peaked at #72.
  • 1976: Freddy Fender released the track on his 1978 album titled Swamp Gold.
  • 1980: Heart released the song as a single in 1980 which reached #8 in the United States.
  • 1989: Billy Joe Royal released a version of the song as a single in 1989 which reached #2 on the US Country chart.
  • 1989: Appearing on the album entitled Let It Roll, actor Don Johnson released the track as a single in 1989 throughout Europe with the highest peaking at #2 on the German Singles chart.
  • 1997: Saxophonist Michael Lington covered the song on his self-titled, debut album.[3]
  • 2002: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Robert Randolph covered the song on The Dirty Dozen's 2002 album, Medicated Magic.
  • 2010: Michael McDonald covered the track on his 2010 album titled The Voice of Michael McDonald.

Other songs with the same title[edit source | editbeta]Edit

In 1958, Little Willie John composed and released a different song with the same title. Additionally, both Tracy Chapman and Lightnin' Hopkins each have written and released an unrelated song with the same title.

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