“Tell Him” is a duet between Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion. It was released on November 3, 1997 as the first single from Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love and Streisand’s Higher Ground albums.
On March 24, 1997 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, 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. The song did managed to peaked number five on the Adult Contemporary and number 58 on the Radio Songs charts. However, “Tell Him” was a huge hit outside the U.S.
A radio version of the song was commissioned. It is also under the same length as the album version. The radio edit features a high-frequent flute playing during Dion’s bridge. It is the opening track of all releases of the song.
The music video was directed by Scott Floyd Lochmus and premiered on VH1, on October 24, 1997. It was included as a bonus on the Au cœur du stade DVD.
“Tell Him” peaked at number 1 in the Netherlands, number 2 in 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.
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 Streisand and Duets. In 2008, it became also a part of Dion’s greatest hits My Love: Essential Collection.