Tell Him was written by Carlton Black in 1963, and was sung by early R&B legend Patti Drew, both of whom were residents of Evanston, Illinois. Black sings on the recording; his bass is heard singing "Bom-Bom-Bom-Do" at the start of the song. "Tell Him" became a huge hit in Chicago and reached Number 90 on both the Billboard and Cashbox pop charts.
The song appeared in Lee Daniels’ 2013 film The Butler. Black says: "he’s astonished at the feedback he’s receiving since the movie came out."
In 1967, after Patti Drew went solo, she recorded the song again and it soared, reaching 22 on the Billboard Top R&B Singles chart.
The song also featured in the Australian stage show: "Happy Days: The Arena Mega Musical" in 1999, which showcased famous songs from the late 1950s and early 1960s (the era in which the TV show Happy Days was set). It was song #20 in the show and was performed by Laura & Joanie (actresses Jo Beth Taylor, Pippa Grandison) and also featured on the soundtrack CD.
The song was covered by Dionne Bromfield on her 2009 album, Introducing Dionne Bromfield.