Got To Be Real

Album: Cheryl Lynn (1978)
Charted: 70 12
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This disco classic was a million-seller for Cheryl Lynn, who released it as her first single after being discovered on The Gong Show, where she sang a rendition of "You Are So Beautiful" that blew away the judges. The Gong Show wasn't a typical place to spot new talent (unless you were looking for someone to belch the alphabet), but Lynn made quite and impact on the show, drawing the attention of CBS Records.

    "Got To Be Real" was by far her biggest hit, reaching #12 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart. The follow-up, "Star Love" was her next highest entry on the Hot 100, but she was a regular on the R&B chart, where she scored another chart-topper with "Encore."
  • On this track and the rest of her debut album, Lynn was teamed with the father-son team of Marty and David Paich, who were her producers. Marty was one of the biggest names in the business, having done production work and arrangements for the likes of Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra; his son David had recently formed Toto and was emerging as a top songwriter and keyboard player.

    David and Cheryl worked out songs for the album with him at the piano and her singing. He wrote the music for "Got To Be Real" with another David: the Canadian upstart David Foster, who also became a top songwriter and producer in the next few years. Lynn wrote the vocal melody and the lyric, which she said was about "real love, real affection. If you just be true, everything will be alright for you."
  • Ray Parker, Jr. of "Ghostbusters" fame played guitar on this track; he produced Lynn's third album, In the Night (1981). Other musicians were David Shields on bass, James Gadson on drums, and David Paich on keyboards.
  • This song keeps the beat going with an unusual arrangement. There are really two choruses: the "What you find... What you feel" section and the "Ooh, your love's for real now" part, which alternate back and forth. There are no real verses, but there is a bridge near the end of the song when Lynn sings, "Got to have it baby." The energy keeps up throughout the song, making it perfect for the dance clubs.

Comments: 2

  • Tito Lopez from Puerto Aventuras, MexicoThe intro of the song was used for the intro of "El Tiburón" ("The Shark"), a huge 1995 Latin hit for Dominican-American Merengue/Hip-hop group Proyecto Uno.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 16, 1979, Cheryl Lynn performed "Got To Be Real" on the NBC-TV late-night musical variety program, 'The Midnight Special'...
    At the time the song was at #25 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, four weeks earlier it had peaked at #12 {for 3 weeks} and it spent eighteen weeks on the Top 100...
    And December 31st, 1978 it reached #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart...
    On the same 'Midnight Special' she also performed "Star Love", four weeks later it entered the Top 100 at #85,
    then five weeks later it would peak at #62 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for ten weeks...
    Besides the above two records, the Los Angeles native had one other Top 100 record, "Shake It Up Tonight", it reached #70 and remained on the chart for seven weeks...
    Lynda Cheryl Smith celebrated her 61st birthday earlier this month on March 11th {2018}.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

90210 to Buffy to Glee: How Songs Transformed TV

90210 to Buffy to Glee: How Songs Transformed TVSong Writing

Shows like Dawson's Creek, Grey's Anatomy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed the way songs were heard on TV, and produced some hits in the process.

Alice Cooper

Alice CooperFact or Fiction

How well do you know this shock-rock harbinger who's been publicly executed hundreds of times?

Superman in Song

Superman in SongSong Writing

Not everyone can be a superhero, but that hasn't stopped generations of musicians from trying to be Superman.

Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)

Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)Songwriter Interviews

The Brazilian rocker sees pictures in his riffs. When he came up with one of his gnarliest songs, there was a riot going on.

Lou Gramm - "Waiting For A Girl Like You"

Lou Gramm - "Waiting For A Girl Like You"They're Playing My Song

Gramm co-wrote this gorgeous ballad and delivered an inspired vocal, but the song was the beginning of the end of his time with Foreigner.

Artis the Spoonman

Artis the SpoonmanSong Writing

Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?