Who Sang It Better – Tell Me It’s Not True

Tell Me It's Not True
Who Sang It Better

I’ve previously looked at Memory, Defying Gravity, Bring Him Home, Gethsemane and Music of the Night in this series and I thought it was about time to add to the list the classic song from Blood Brothers….’Tell Me It’s Not True.’

Tell Me It’s Not True is sung at the end of the show by Mrs Johnson when the secret she has been keeping is finally revealed and to disastrous consequences.

The role of Mrs Johnson has been played by numerous stars including Marti Webb, Maureen Nolan, Linda Nolan and Kiki Dee however it is Stephanie Lawrence,  Mel C, Lyn Paul and Barbara Dickson that I shall look at here.

Sephanie Lawrence has played the role of Mrs Johnson more than anyone and also played the role on Broadway, securing herself with a Tony nomination. This is her performance at the Tony awards.

Stephanie has possibly one of the more classical voices in this role but this doesn’t stop the emotion from coming across, far from it.

Next up is Mel C who gained an Olivier for the role.

Mel C perhaps puts her own mark on this song more than most, possibly because of her distinctive voice. I do find some of her initiation slightly odd, for example the first ‘story’ she tends to empahsise the middle of the word.

Barbara Dickson originated the role of Mrs Johnson at Liverpool Playhouse and won an Olivier for the role is the next to be considered.

I personally love the lower notes in Barbara’s voice and you can literally hear the pain in her voice at points. She also comes across with a lot of control in her voice and really knows how to use her instrument.

I recently saw Lyn Paul in the show (full review here) on its most recent tour.

I have to confess I love this version – I really get the emotion from this song from Lyn Paul. The ending just suits in her voice perfectly and she builds on the dynamics perfectly through out the song so the ending is taken up a notch.  Lyn Paul therefore is my favourite!

Out of interest Bill Kenwright says Lyn Paul and Linda Nolan are amoung his favourites however it appears that the most popular appears to be Barbara Dickson, maybe for the sheer fact that it was her who created the role.

Who is your favourite person to sing Tell Me It’s Not True? I’d love to hear from you.


  • Linda Nolan for me. I came across your article whilst googling to try to find a recording of Linda singing this. I saw her in the role years ago and thought she was outstanding, it has really stayed with me. I haven’t been able to find a recording of Linda, which is a shame. Of your selection, I would say Lyn.

  • I jumped in sure it would be Barbara. But you did her a big disservice by excluding the harmony in the clip you chose to post. The ending falls completely flat… sounds almost unfinished. Yuk. Personally, I watch a live action clip of Mel C on YouTube a LOT! Love her. From your choices here… I vote Lyn.
    ( by the by… Kiki Dee is my least favorite of the lot. )

  • I’ve listened to all these, and I saw lyn Paul and linda nolan perform them for me Linda nolan’s “say I only dreamed it” beats all of these all are amazing but she sang this part so amazingly! I viewed each and watched them nothing beats it for me!

  • Nothing beats Linda Nolan for me. I saw her twice sing this in blood brothers – amazing. I cried even while leaving the theatre at the heart wrenching song and performance of Linda. She was fantastic!

  • Helen Reddy was amazing when I saw her at Birmingham Hippodrome with Stefan Dennis. Such a strong voice and emotional performance.

  • Must be Barbara Dickson!! We have seen her in concert many times and her voice is amazing!!

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