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Turn The Beat Around by Vicki Sue Robinson

Album: Never Gonna Let You GoReleased: 1976Charted:
  • This was Robinson's only hit. She performed on Broadway prior to recording the song and later mounted a successful off-Broadway one woman show. She also sang in commercials, including the "We're All Connected" spot for New York Telephone, and did background vocals on the hit "Fame."

    Robinson got her start in showbiz by joining the cast of the stage musical Hair. Nor was this her last stage appearance - she also went back to Broadway as part of the cast of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. She died on April 27, 2000.
  • The lyric to this song is all about the music itself, with Robinson savoring the music and at times describing literally what's going on:

    "Hear the scratch of the guitar scratching"
    "The drums go rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat"

    To "turn the beat around" means to start a drum pattern over.
  • In the '70s, this was a disco standard that earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Female Vocal. It was written by the keyboard session players Pete and Gerold Jackson.
  • Gloria Estefan did a nearly identical cover version in 1994. It was used in the Sharon Stone movie The Specialist.
  • TV shows to use this song as part of the soundtrack include The Sopranos and Ally McBeal. Films include The Specialist (1994), The Last Days of Disco (1998), and The Spirit of '76 (1990). Cover versions by Gloria Estefan have also turned up in TV and film soundtracks.

    Oddly enough, the song was not included in the film of the same name, Turn the Beat Around, which was a 2010 MTV original movie based loosely the film Flashdance.
  • As well as the video clip here showing her appearing on The Midnight Special, Robinson also did the full tour of American Bandstand, Soul Train, and Don Kirshner's Rock Concert. By the way, in the video: That man with the cherubic platinum blonde hair, giant dinner-plate glasses, and shirt collar up to his ears is Paul Williams. He's hosting the show here, but he's better known as the songwriter behind such hits as "An Old Fashioned Love Song" by Three Dog Night, "Rainy Days And Mondays" by the Carpenters, and "Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie.
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Comments: 6

On July 10th 1976, Vicki Sue Robinson performed "Turn the Beat Around" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
Three months earlier on April 4th, 1976 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #93; and on August 8th, 1976 it peaked at #10 (for 2 weeks) and spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 (25 weeks)...
And on March 14th, 1976 it reached #1 (for 4 weeks)on the Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart...
She had two other Top 100 records; "Daylight" (peaked at #63 in 1976) and "Hold Tight" (reached #67 in 1977)
R.I.P. Ms. Robinson (1954 - 2000).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Vicki Sue Robionson also sang vocals on the 80s cartoon Jem as Rapture and Minx.Kent - Greensburg, Pa
While playing the song Don't let me down by the Beatles I stumbled upon how to play this on guitar.You see the first two chords of both songs are F#minor and E. Well I decided to go to a D chord from there and I realized "hey thats turn the beat around"Brian - Boston, Ma
As much as I like the original, I think Gloria's version blows it out of the water! I disagree that it is a "nearly identical" version.Karen - Manchester, Nh
The repeated refrains are in traditional rock rhythms. But listen to the verses Vickie Sue sings -- there are clear elements of rap there.Jerry - Brooklyn, Ny
This song is used in one of the latter episodes of Ally McBeal, with Ally and her shrink discussing the effect the song had on her.Jorge - Mexicali, Mexico