Aaron Neville - Tell it Like it is - 1965

Introduction to "Tell It Like It Is" by Aaron Neville

Tell It Like It Is is a soulful classic by Aaron Neville, released in 1966. This track not only showcases Neville's unique vocal style but also marks a significant moment in the history of Soul Music and the 1960s musical landscape. In this aiMOOC, we'll explore the song's background, its impact, and delve into the artistry of Aaron Neville.

Background of the Song

"Tell It Like It Is" was not just a song but a cultural phenomenon. It was released in a time when the United States was undergoing significant social and political changes. The song, with its heartfelt lyrics and soulful melody, resonated with a wide audience, making it a timeless classic.

  1. Learn about the 1960s social and cultural context.
  2. Explore the Soul Music genre.

Aaron Neville's Artistry

Aaron Neville is an artist with a distinct voice and style. His approach to music combined elements of R&B, Soul, and even Gospel, creating a unique sound that has influenced many artists.

  1. Discover more about Aaron Neville's musical career.
  2. Understand the influence of New Orleans on his music.

The Lyrics and Their Meaning

The lyrics of "Tell It Like It Is" are straightforward yet powerful, speaking to honesty in relationships. This simplicity, paired with Neville's emotive delivery, is what gives the song its enduring appeal.

  1. Analyze the lyrics of "Tell It Like It Is."
  2. Explore themes of honesty and vulnerability in Soul Music.

Quiz: Questions on the Song

What year was "Tell It Like It Is" released? (1966) (!1965) (!1967) (!1968)

Which genre does "Tell It Like It Is" primarily belong to? (Soul) (!Rock) (!Jazz) (!Pop)

What is a key theme of "Tell It Like It Is"? (Honesty in relationships) (!Political struggle) (!Personal freedom) (!Love for nature)

Who wrote "Tell It Like It Is"? (George Davis and Lee Diamond) (!Aaron Neville) (!Otis Redding) (!Sam Cooke)

How did "Tell It Like It Is" perform on the charts? (Reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100) (!Topped the Billboard Hot 100) (!Did not enter the charts) (!Reached top 10 on the R&B charts)

Quiz: Questions on Aaron Neville

In which city was Aaron Neville born? (New Orleans) (!Memphis) (!Detroit) (!Chicago)

Apart from his solo career, with which group is Aaron Neville most famously associated? (The Neville Brothers) (!The Temptations) (!The Four Tops) (!The Commodores)

Which style of music is Aaron Neville NOT typically associated with? (Hard Rock) (!Soul) (!R&B) (!Gospel)

What is distinct about Aaron Neville's vocal style? (His vibrato and falsetto) (!His deep baritone voice) (!His fast rapping style) (!His operatic tenor voice)

Which instrument is Aaron Neville known for playing? (He is primarily a singer, not an instrumentalist) (!Piano) (!Guitar) (!Drums)

Quiz: Questions on the Lyrics

What does the line "If you want something to play with, go and find yourself a toy" imply in the song? (Value sincerity in relationships) (!The joy of childhood) (!The importance of having fun) (!The need for personal space)

How does the song "Tell It Like It Is" conclude? (By urging straightforward communication) (!With a plea for reconciliation) (!With a declaration of love) (!By questioning the relationship)

Which theme is NOT directly addressed in the lyrics of "Tell It Like It Is"? (Political commentary) (!Honest communication) (!Personal integrity) (!Emotional clarity)

The line "Life is too short to have sorrow" suggests what? (The importance of living fully and honestly) (!The inevitability of sadness) (!The need for material wealth) (!The fleeting nature of love)

What is the overall tone of the song "Tell It Like It Is"? (Straightforward and emotional) (!Light-hearted and humorous) (!Angry and confrontational) (!Dreamy and abstract)


Aaron Neville New Orleans
1966 Release Year of "Tell It Like It Is"
Soul Music Genre of "Tell It Like It Is"
Honesty Key Theme of the Song
The Neville Brothers Group Aaron Neville is Associated With

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Compile a playlist of soul songs from the 1960s.
  2. Draw a Portrait: Create an artistic portrait of Aaron Neville.


  1. Write a Review: Write a review of "Tell It Like It Is" and its impact on music.
  2. Explore New Orleans: Research how New Orleans has influenced soul music.


  1. Analyze Lyrics: Analyze the lyrics of "Tell It Like It Is" in the context of the 1960s.
  2. Create a Documentary: Produce a short documentary on the legacy of Aaron Neville.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the impact of "Tell It Like It Is" on modern soul music.
  2. Analyze how Aaron Neville's upbringing in New Orleans influenced his music.
  3. Compare and contrast "Tell It Like It Is" with another soul hit from the 1960s.
  4. Explore the theme of honesty in soul music and its cultural significance.
  5. Discuss the evolution of Aaron Neville's music career and its impact on the music industry.

OERs on the Topic


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