We Got the Beat

"We Got the Beat" is a song recorded by the American rock band the Go-Go's. Written by the group's lead guitarist and keyboardist Charlotte Caffey, and considered to be their signature song, the band recorded the song in 1980 and it was released in July as a single in the UK on Stiff Records. The song's single release brought the Go-Go's underground credibility in the UK. The song climbed to No. 35 on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart due to the popularity of the song in clubs as an import. It is considered a new wave classic hit.[1][2]

"We Got the Beat"
Picture sleeve for 1982 US vinyl single
Single by The Go-Go's
from the album Beauty and the Beat
B-side"Can't Stop the World"
ReleasedUK: July 27, 1980 (original version)
US: January 16, 1982 (re-recorded version)
Format7" single
GenreNew wave
LabelStiff (1980), I.R.S. (1981, 1982), A&M (1982)
Songwriter(s)Charlotte Caffey
Producer(s)Paul L. Wexler (original version)
Richard Gottehrer, Rob Freeman (re-recorded version)
The Go-Go's singles chronology
"Our Lips Are Sealed"
"We Got the Beat"

Background, composition and release

Clocking in at only 2 12 minutes, the song is instantly recognizable by its drumming intro.[3] The song evolved out of the group covering the song that served as the group's namesake, the 1965 hit "Going to a Go Go" by the Miracles.[4]

"We Got the Beat" mentions various early '60s dances such as the Pony, the Watusi and Go-Go dancing.

The Go-Go's re-recorded the song for their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, released in July 1981. "We Got the Beat" was released as the album's second single in January 1982.

The song's music video, filmed at a live performance at Palos Verdes High School in Los Angeles, CA on December 4, 1981, received heavy airplay on MTV at the time. It gained further exposure when it was used in the opening sequence of the Amy Heckerling-directed film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, released in August 1982.

Chart performance

"We Got the Beat" became the Go-Go's biggest hit, spending three weeks at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, behind Joan Jett & the Blackhearts' "I Love Rock 'n Roll". It was during the song's time in the U.S. top 10 that Beauty and the Beat topped the U.S. Billboard 200.

Chart (1981) Peak
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[5] 35
Chart (1982) Peak
Australia KMR 29
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[6] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 2
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[8] 7


The song was named one of "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll".[9]

Track listing

UK 7" Single (1980, Stiff Records)
  1. "We Got the Beat" (Caffey)
  2. "How Much More" (Caffey/Wiedlin)
UK 7" Single (1981, I.R.S. Records)
  1. "We Got the Beat" (Caffey)
  2. "Skidmarks on My Heart" (Caffey/Carlisle)
US 7" Single (1981, I.R.S. Records)
  1. "We Got the Beat" (Caffey) - 2:30
  2. "Can't Stop the World" (Valentine) - 3:22

Debby Ryan version

"We Got the Beat"
Promotional single by Debby Ryan
from the album Radio Rebel
ReleasedFebruary 21, 2012 (2012-02-21)
FormatDigital download[10]
GenrePop rock
LabelMarvista Entertainment
Songwriter(s)Charlotte Caffey
Producer(s)Matthew Gerrard, Ali Dee Theodore, Matthew Tishler

A cover of "We Got the Beat" was recorded in 2012 by American singer-songwriter Debby Ryan. It was produced by Matthew Gerrard, Ali Dee Theodore and Matthew Tishler.[11]

In an interview with Shine On Media, Ryan commented on how she chose the song.[12]

'We Got the Beat' has been one of my favorite songs for a long time. The song in itself and the vibe is all really really great. I kind of updated it a bit more, put it a little 2011. You hear some stutters and a couple things that are in pop music. We tried to stay really close, not only having old school live instrument grunge rock with a little bit of a 2012 dance beat.[12]

Charlotte Caffey, composer of "We Got the Beat", also wrote Ryan's debut single, "We Ended Right".

Ryan's cover was released exclusively for radio premiere on February 11, 2012 on Radio Disney, premiered on February 18, 2012, and was released for digital download on February 21, 2012[10] as a promotional single only in the United States and Canada by Marvista Entertainment.

The song was included on the soundtrack of the movie Radio Rebel.

Critical reception

This version of the song received mixed reviews from music critics. Anna Peel, speaking onBSC Kids, commented: "I loved the original “We Got The Beat” but I’m kind of lukewarm on Debby Ryan’s version. Debby’s got a lot of talent, but I just can’t get excited about this version".[13]

Music video

The music video was directed and produced by Ryan[14] and choreographed by Alyson Stoner.[15] In the video, Ryan and her friends dance in locations that include a wall with graffiti that reads "Who is Radio Rebel?". The music video for the single premiered on Disney Channel on February 13, 2012.[16]

Track listing

  • Digital download single
  1. "We Got the Beat" – 2:22

Release history

Country Date Format Label
United States[10] February 21, 2012 Digital download Marvista Entertainment


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