Got To Be Real – Cheryl Lynn | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#12), R&B (#1) and Dance (#11); 1979

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

With Marty and David Paich – co-producers on Got To Be Real – it was very much a family affair. Father Marty was one of popular music’s top arrangers (Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, to name a few) and son David played with folks like Jackson Browne and Glen Campbell as well as forming Toto.

Cheryl met Marty and David at Columbia Records, the label that signed her after a standout performance on TV’s The Gong Show. (Cheryl sang You Are So Beautiful – the only secular song she knew at the time.) Got To Be Real was born with David trying out tunes on the piano and Cheryl adlibbing lyrics taken from her real-life beliefs about true love.

David also took over keyboards for the recording session, while Ray Parker Jr. laid down guitar lines, and Cheryl sang live with the band. The resulting record gave Cheryl a #1 R&B hit with her first single.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • David Paich
  • Marty Paich

Lyrics Written by:

  • Cheryl Lynn
  • David Paich
  • David Foster


  • The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1980