Got to Be Real

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"Got to Be Real"
Got to Be Real NZ.jpg
Single by Cheryl Lynn
from the album Cheryl Lynn
B-side"Come in from the Rain"
ReleasedAugust 14, 1978[1]
RecordedApril 1978
StudioSunset Sound Studios
(Hollywood, California)
  • 3:43 (single)
Cheryl Lynn singles chronology
"Got to Be Real"
"Star Love"
Alternative cover

"Got to Be Real" is a song by American singer Cheryl Lynn from her 1978 self-titled debut studio album. The song, which was Lynn's debut single, was written by Lynn, David Paich and David Foster.


For the recording, David Shields played bass, David Paich played keyboards, James Gadson played drums and Ray Parker, Jr. was the session guitarist.

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, "Got to Be Real" hit number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and hit number one on the Hot Soul Singles chart in early 1979.[3] Along with the album tracks "Star Love" and "You Saved My Day", "Got to Be Real" peaked at number eleven on the National Disco Action Top 40 chart.[4] In the UK the song did not chart upon its original release - in 2010 it was used for a TV advertising campaign for Marks & Spencer, a department store, and it entered the main charts for the first time at number 78 for the week ending April 4, the next week peaking at number 70.[5][6]


"Got to Be Real" was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame on September 19, 2005. RIAA Platinum Certification. In 2017, ShortList's Dave Fawbert listed the song as containing "one of the greatest key changes in music history".[7]

Cheryl Lynn’s recording of “Got to Be Real” was used on the soundtrack of Paris Is Burning in 1990, and has been noted as reinforcing themes of the documentary film; New York-based DJ Prince Language commented to NPR in 1992 that "The music that animates the movements of the dancers in the film, especially the lyrics, provides a subversive and sometimes even shady commentary on the politics and aesthetics of drag and ball culture. The use of Cheryl Lynn's 'Got To Be Real' is the ultimate example of this, brilliantly touching on drag's invocations of and insistence on 'realness,' and the film shows how balls and dancers ultimately question the very notion of what is 'real' in the context of identity, and how we each create and construct our own 'real' selves."[8]

"Got to Be Real" was sampled in Father MC's 1990 rap hit "I'll Do 4 U".[9]

The song was featured in the South Park nineteenth season episode "Safe Space", where actor Steven Seagal dances along during a presentation at South Park Elementary School.

The track was used in Season 4 at the end of Episode 2 "The Real Me" in the series Sex and the City in the scenes featuring Carrie as a specially invited celeb in a charity runway show.

Track listing and formats[edit]

  • US 7-inch vinyl single
  1. "Got to Be Real" – 3:42
  2. "Come in from the Rain" – 3:35
  • US 12-inch vinyl single
  1. "Got to Be Real" – 5:10
  2. "Come in from the Rain" – 3:35

Charts and certifications[edit]

Erik version[edit]

"Got to Be Real"
Erik-Got to Be Real.jpg
Single by Erik
StudioPWL Studios
LabelPWL International
Erik singles chronology
"Looks Like I'm in Love Again"
"Got to Be Real"
"We Got the Love"

In 1993, British singer Erik released a cover of "Got to Be Real", produced by Pete Waterman and Dave Ford. To date, it is her most well-known song, resulting in a UK club smash hit[16] and peaking at number 42 on the UK Singles Chart.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

Pan-European magazine Music & Media commented, "It's the second time around for this pop/dance ditty from the mid-'80s. With three mixes to chose from, hit potential is greatly enhanced."[18] Andy Beevers from Music Week gave the song four out of five. He wrote, "Erik has taken Cheryl Lynn's late Seventies dancefloor anthem and interpreted it in a bang up-to-date disco house style. The result has been solid club support and its abundance of catchy hooks should earn some radio plays."[19]

Track listing[edit]

  • 7", UK (1993)
  1. "Got to Be Real"
  2. "I Can't Take Any More"
  • 12", UK (1993)
  1. "Got to Be Real" (Silver City Mix)
  2. "Got to Be Real" (Hot Tip 12)
  3. "Got to Be Real" (TK Groove)
  4. "Got to Be Real" (J & S Disco Bunny)
  • CD single, UK (1994)
  1. "Got to Be Real" (Hot Tip 7)4:12
  2. "Got to Be Real" (TK Groove)7:24
  3. "Got to Be Real" (J&S Disco Bunny)7:24
  4. "I Can't Take Any More" 3:51


Chart (1994) Peak
UK Singles (OCC) 42
UK Top 20 Breakers (Music Week)[20] 1
UK Dance (Music Week)[21] 9

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  2. ^ AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman. "Cheryl Lynn - Cheryl Lynn | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 368.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 162.
  5. ^ "Got to Be Real Official Charts Company history". Retrieved 2011-29-5.
  6. ^ "Cheryl Lynn Official Charts Companyhistory". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2009-12-12.
  7. ^ "The 19 greatest key changes in music history". ShortList. October 1, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Escobedo Shepard, Julianne (2012-04-30). "The Music And Meaning Of 'Paris Is Burning'". Retrieved 2021-08-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Ro, Ronin (2001). Bad Boy: The Influence of Sean "Puffy" Combs on the Music Industry. New York: Pocket Books. p. 16. ISBN 074343417X. Retrieved 2022-01-02.
  10. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 15 April 1979
  11. ^ "Top 100 1979-02-10". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2014-11-13.
  12. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  13. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1979/Top 100 Songs of 1979". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  14. ^ "Top 100 Year End Charts: 1979". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  15. ^ "British single certifications – Cheryl Lynn – Got to Be Real". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2020-08-09.Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Got to Be Real in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  16. ^ Davies, Chris (September 1998). British and American hit singles: 51 years of transatlantic hits, 1946-1997. BT Batsford. p. 1374. ISBN 9780713482751. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  17. ^ "ERIK | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts.
  18. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. 1994-01-15. p. 12. Retrieved 2021-04-05.
  19. ^ Beevers, Andy (1993-12-25). "Market Preview: Dance - Pick of the Week" (PDF). Music Week. p. 14. Retrieved 2021-04-05.
  20. ^ "Top 20 Breakers" (PDF). Music Week. 1994-01-29. p. 19. Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  21. ^ "Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 1994-01-29. p. 26. Retrieved 2021-04-13.

External links[edit]