Got to Be Real

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"Got to Be Real"
Single by Cheryl Lynn
from the album Cheryl Lynn
Released 1978
Recorded 1978
Genre Disco
Length 5:07 (album version)
3:45 (radio edit)
Writer(s) Cheryl Lynn
David Paich
David Foster
Cheryl Lynn singles chronology
"Got To Be Real"
"Star Love"

"Got to Be Real" is a 1978 disco song by Cheryl Lynn from her self-titled album. The song, which was Lynn's debut single, was penned by David Paich, David Foster, and Lynn, and has since been called one of the defining moments in disco. Along with the tracks, "Star Love" and "You Saved My Day", "Got to Be Real" peaked at number eleven on the disco chart.[1] For the recording, David Shields played bass, David Paich played keyboards, James Gadson played drums and Ray Parker Jr. was the session guitarist. The song peaked at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart and number one on the R&B chart in early-1979.[2] On September 19, 2005, "Got to Be Real" was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.

The song was used for a 2010 UK TV Advertising Campaign for Marks & Spencer, a British department store, and it re-entered the UK Singles Chart at 78 for the week Ending 4 April, the next week peaking at #70. [3][4]

Cover versions[edit]

Live cover performances[edit]

In 1994, PWL artist Erik covered the single, resulting in a UK club smash hit, and minor chart hit.

  • Philippine girl group A.K.A. JAM performed the song on X Factor Philippines' Top 12 live show on August 4, 2012.


  • The group Full Force sampled the song for their song Ain't My Type of Hype.
  • Father MC sampled the song for his song "I'll Do 4 U" on his 1990 album Father's Day, which features vocals by Mary J. Blige.
  • C+C Music Factory sampled this song in "Do You Wanna Get Funky" from the 1994 album Anything Goes!.
  • In 1996, Jamiroquai sampled it for their song "Funktion", which was included as a hidden track on their third studio album Travelling Without Moving.
  • The song was heavily sampled for a remix of Beyoncé's Irreplaceable, released in 2006.
  • Brother D and the Collective Effort sampled as part of the old-school hip hop anthem "How We Gonna Make The Black Nation Rise?"
  • Funky Four Plus One sampled it for their 1979 song "Rappin' And Rocking The House"
  • Proyecto Uno sampled most parts of the song on their famous hit "Tiburón"
  • Dynamic Duo sampled the song when they were part of CB Mass with rapper Curbin for the song "Jinja (Real)".
  • Houston rapper Dat Boy Grace sampled the song for his song "Southside So Real" on his album "From Crumbs To Bricks"
  • Filipino actor, rap artist, and model Carlos Agassi sampled the song for his song "Magpakatotoo" featuring Vanessa Del Mundo.
  • Eric Benét sampled the song on the track, "Feel Good" featuring Faith Evans from 2010's Lost in Time.
  • Miami rapper Blac Haze sampled the main parts of this song in "Let Me Holla At Cha" from the 1998 album "Res-Sa-Rec-Shun".
  • Crips sampled the song on the track, "Every Dog has his Day".
  • Fat Joe sampled the song for his track "Bet Ya Man Can't (Triz)" that features Big Pun, Cuban Link, and Triple Seis from Don Cartagena album in 1998.

Appearances in other media[edit]

  • The song was prominently featured in the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, which chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the poor, African American and Latino gay and transgendered community involved in it.
  • The song is heard in the 1993 crime film Carlito's Way when Carlito Brigante (played by Al Pacino) enters his girlfriend Gale's strip club.
  • Whit Stillman's film The Last Days of Disco includes the song on its soundtrack.
  • In 1998, in the first season episode "Head Case" of the sitcom Will and Grace, Will sings this song in the bathroom while he shaves, to which Grace responds "We're just like fifty men and a mirrored ball away from being a gay disco".
  • The song was also included as a playable song in the North American version of Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA 2, as a nod to its 2002 appearance in the sixth season King of the Hill episode "Returning Japanese", which featured the song in a DDR clone.
  • In 2001, the song appeared in the fourth season Sex and the City episode, "The Real Me", where Carrie Bradshaw becomes a model for a day.
  • In 2006, the song featured in 'The Pink Panther' movie starring Steve Martin. The song played during some of the New York scenes.
  • In March 2010 for their new Spring Collection, Marks and Spencer, the British department store, use "Got To Be Real" on their adverts.
  • The song appeared in the 2000 film, Keeping the Faith which starred Ben Stiller and Edward Norton
  • In 2013, the song appeared in the first season The New Normal episode, "The Goldie Rush".
  • The song is also featured in the 2002 film, Undercover Brother, after "The Man"'s organization is defeated towards the end of the movie.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 162. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 368. 
  3. ^ "Got to Be Real UK singles chart history". Retrieved 2011-29-5.
  4. ^ "Cheryl Lynn UK singles chart history". Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
Preceded by
"Le Freak" by Chic
Billboard's Hot Soul number one single (Cheryl Lynn version)
January 6, 1979
Succeeded by
"September" by Earth, Wind & Fire