On this day in music history: January 6, 1979 …

On this day in music history: January 6, 1979 – “Got To Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #12 on the Hot 100 on February 17, 1979. Written by David Paich, David Foster and Cheryl Lynn, it is the debut single and biggest hit for the R&B vocalist from Los Angeles, CA. Born Lynda Cheryl Smith, Lynn is signed to Columbia Records by label executive Bruce Lundvall after seeing her showstopping performance of “You Are So Beautiful” on The Gong Show, beating out several other record labels vying to sign her. She is paired with David Paich of the band Toto who produce her album while alternately working on his bands’ debut album. Lynn also contributes background vocals their song “Georgy Porgy” (#18 R&B, #48 Pop). Recorded at Studio 55 in Los Angeles, the track features Paich on keyboards, James Gadson on drums, David Shields on bass and Ray Parker, Jr. on guitar. Released as a single in August of 1978, “Real” is an instant smash on the dance floor, quickly crossing over to both pop and R&B radio. During its run on the charts, Columbia Records issues two different pressings of the single. The original single version running 3:42 which includes an improvised vocal vamp during the song’s breakdown, and an extended disco version running 5:10 that replaces the vamp with an extended instrumental passage. The latter is also released as a 12" single (backed with the follow up single “Star Love”). The second, longer version also replaces the original mix on subsequent re-pressings of Lynn’s self-titled debut album. “Got To Be Real” becomes one of the definitive records of the Disco Era, with its popularity enduring for more than three decades. It has been widely covered and sampled, with the original version being a staple on R&B oldies radio and on dance floors around the world today. In 1996, a third mix featuring a few brief seconds of the musicians jamming before launching into the master take, appears on the compilation “The Best Of Cheryl Lynn – Got To Be Real”. The original version of the song is featured in numerous films including the documentary “Paris Is Burning”, “Carlito’s Way”, “The Last Days Of Disco”, “Undercover Brother” and “Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb”. It is also referred to in several television shows including “Will & Grace”, “American Dad!”, “South Park”, “Scandal” and “Sex And The City”. “Got To Be Real” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.