"We Got the Beat"
We Got the Beat by The Go-Go
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"
ReleasedAUS: July 19, 1981 (original version)
UK: July 27, 1981 (original version)
US: January 16, 1982 (re-recorded version)
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"

"We Got the Beat" is a song by the American rock band the Go-Go's, written by the group's lead guitarist and keyboardist Charlotte Caffey. The band first recorded the song in 1980 for a single on UK-based Stiff Records, and later rerecorded it for their debut album Beauty and the Beat on I.R.S. Records. The initial single release brought the Go-Go's underground credibility during their first UK tour and in the band's hometown of Los Angeles. The first version reached No. 35 on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart due to its popularity in clubs as an import, and the second version was a top 10 hit in both the United States and Canada. It is considered a new wave classic hit, as well as being the Go-Go's' signature song.[1][2] The song was named one of "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll".[3]

Background, composition and release

"We Got the Beat" evolved in part out of the group covering the Smokey Robinson song that served as the group's namesake: the Miracles' "Going to a Go Go" (1965).[4] Taking inspiration from that, and from the opening theme of The Twilight Zone, lead guitarist Charlotte Caffey wrote "We Got the Beat" and offered it to the band with hesitation, afraid that it would not be punk enough for the other members' tastes. When rest of the Go-Go's heard the song, they loved it, and its incorporation into their set marked a stylistic change for the group as they moved away from punk rock and toward a more pop sensibility that would put the Go-Go's in with what was being termed "new wave". Go-Go's manager Ginger Canzoneri secured a deal with British indie label Stiff Records to release "We Got the Beat" as a single to support the band's UK tour with Madness and The Specials. Stiff Records had also wanted to secure publishing rights for "We Got the Beat" and its B-side, "How Much More", but Canzoneri declined, thinking it was important for the band to hold the publishing rights to their own songs.[5]

After returning from a tumultuous UK tour, the Go-Go's returned to large crowds at clubs in Los Angeles, due to the single's popularity, leading them to a deal with newly established I.R.S. Records. The band headed to New York's Pennylane Studio to record their debut album where producer Richard Gottehrer advised the group to slow their songs down. "We Got the Beat" remained an exception to this advice, though the band lengthened it slightly by added a few instrumental bars at the song's start.

"We Got the Beat" led off the second side of the Go-Go's debut album, Beauty and the Beat, released in July 1981, and served as the album's second single in January 1982, now with another album track, "Can't Stop The World", as its B-side. Clocking in at 2+12 minutes, the second studio version song is recognizable by its drumming intro.[6] The song's lyrics mention various early 1960s dances such as the Pony, the Watusi, and Go-Go dancing.

The song's music video, filmed at a live performance at Palos Verdes High School in Los Angeles 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.

The Go-Go's performed the song, along with "Vacation" and "Our Lips Are Sealed", during the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.[7]


Cash Box magazine said "The Grammy Awards-nominated Go-Go's continue on their winning ways with this new recording of the cut that started it all for the girls in 1980 as an English single on stiff, punchy, to-the-point power-pop."[8]

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.

Weekly charts

Chart (1981-82) Peak
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[9] 35
Australia (Kent Music Report) 29
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[10] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[11] 2
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[12] 7

Year-end charts

Year-end chart (1982) Rank
Canada [13] 32
US Top Pop Singles (Billboard)[14] 25

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"
Debby Ryan - We Got the Beat.jpg
Promotional single by Debby Ryan
from the album Radio Rebel
ReleasedFebruary 21, 2012 (2012-02-21)
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.[15]

In an interview with Shine On Media, Ryan commented on how she chose the song.[16]

'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.[16]

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[17] 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".[18]

Music video

The music video was directed and produced by Ryan[19] and choreographed by Alyson Stoner.[20] 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.[21]

Track listing

  1. "We Got the Beat" – 2:22

Release history

Country Date Format Label
United States[17] February 21, 2012 Digital download Marvista Entertainment


  1. ^ "The Go-Go's Bring 'We Got the Beat' to 2016 Billboard Music Awards".
  2. ^ "We Got the Beat - the Go-Go's | Song Info | AllMusic".
  3. ^ "Experience The Music: One Hit Wonders and The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum". Rockhall.com. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  4. ^ Billboard Jan 8, 1983
  5. ^ Ellwood, Alison (director) (2020). The Go-Go's (film). United States: Showtime.
  6. ^ The Drummer: 100 Years of Rhythmic Power and Invention edited by Adam Budofsky, Michele Heusel, Michael Ray Dawson, Michael Parillo
  7. ^ Zaleski, Annie (October 30, 2021). "The Go-Go's Break Out Hits, 'Rock Star' Poses for Long Overdue Rock Hall Induction". Rolling Stone.
  8. ^ "Single Review" (PDF). Cash Box. January 23, 1981. p. 9. Retrieved December 5, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  9. ^ "go-gos Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4342." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  11. ^ "go-gos Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  12. ^ "go-gos Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  13. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca.
  14. ^ "Talent in Action : Top Pop Singles". Billboard. 94 (51): TIA-20. December 25, 1982.
  15. ^ "Original Soundtrack Radio Rebel". Allmusic. 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2013-01-01.
  16. ^ a b "Behind-the-Scenes of Debby Ryan's "We Got the Beat" with Alyson Stoner!". Sillykhan. 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  17. ^ a b "We Got the Beat - Single by Debby Ryan". iTunes. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
  18. ^ "Official Music Video For Debby Ryan's "We Got The Beat"". BSC Kids. 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  19. ^ "Debby Ryan Makes Radio Rebel Announcements About "We Got The Beat"". Disney Dreaming. 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  20. ^ "Alyson Stoner Helps Debby Ryan With Her "We Got The Beat" Music Video". Disney Dreaming. 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  21. ^ "Debby Ryan Premieres "We Got the Beat" Music Video!". Sillykhan. 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2012-10-31.