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Turn the Beat Around

"Turn the Beat Around"
Single by Vicki Sue Robinson
from the album Never Gonna Let You Go
B-side "Lack of Respect"
Released 1976
Genre Disco
Length 5:35
Label RCA Victor
Writer(s) Gerald Jackson, Peter Jackson
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Vicki Sue Robinson singles chronology
"Baby Now That I Found You"
"Turn the Beat Around"
"Never Gonna Let You Go"

"Turn the Beat Around" is a disco song written by Gerald Jackson and Peter Jackson and performed by Vicki Sue Robinson in 1976 (see 1976 in music), originally appearing on her debut album, Never Gonna Let You Go. Released as a single, the song went to #10 on the Billboard pop charts, and #73 on the soul chart.[1] Robinson received a Grammy nomination for best female pop vocal. The track went to number one on the disco chart for four weeks.[2] "Turn the Beat Around" is considered a disco classic and is featured on many compilation albums.


  • Background 1
  • Laura Branigan version 2
    • Track listings 2.1
  • Gloria Estefan version 3
    • Certifications 3.1
    • Charts 3.2
      • Peak positions 3.2.1
      • End of year charts 3.2.2
  • Other versions 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


"Turn the Beat Around" was written by brothers Gerald and Peter Jackson of the R&B outfit Touch of Class. Peter Jackson knew Al Garrison, an engineer at Associated Studios in New York, via his [ie. Peter Jackson's] work as a session drummer, and it was at Associated Studios that Touch of Class cut its own demos. Peter Jackson recalls that one Sunday at noontime "I called Al and said...we want to come in and [cut a] demo...He was leaving at four...He said: 'My girl[friend]’s coming to pick me up for dinner. You have to be done [by then]."[3]

Garrison's girlfriend turned out to be singer Vicki Sue Robinson whose debut album was nearing completion requiring one additional track. On arriving at Associated Studios that Sunday, Robinson overheard the playback of the "Turn the Beat Around" demo which Touch of Class had just recorded and according to Peter Jackson said: "Oh, man, I’ve gotta have that song." Gerald and Peter Jackson initially demurred, wishing to submit "Turn the Beat Around" along with four earlier demos to be green-lighted for the Touch of Class debut album.[3]

Peter Jackson - "Monday [the next day], Gerald and I go up to Midland [Touch of Class' label]. We’re excited because we know this song ["Turn the Beat Around"] is slammin’...[Midland] took the other four songs and they passed on that one. They said: 'We don’t like that one. The lyrics move too fast. You have that jungle beat in there. It’s not what’s happening'." Peter Jackson resultantly called Vicki Sue Robinson to give her the song for her album. When Jackson told Robinson: "'I’ll meet you down on Thirty-Fourth Street [with the demo]' she said: 'I [already] made Al give me a copy.'"[3]

Robinson recorded "Turn the Beat Around" on September 26, 1975 cutting her lead vocal in a single take after recording her own multi-tracked chorale vocals. Like the other cuts on Robinsons's debut album Never Gonna Let You Go, "Turn the Beat Around" was recorded at RCA Studios with producer Warren Schatz who recalls the basic master of the song was recorded "on a Friday after a very depressing week of rain [and] I hated [the track]! I listened to it in my office and I just couldn't get it. It had been such a bad week that I just couldn't hear anything with an open mind. Then David Todd, the head of disco promotion at RCA, came into my office and he went crazy over the track! He convinced me to finish it as soon as possible."[4]

Issued as a single in February 1976 "Turn the Beat Around" became a club smash subsequently breaking on Top 40 radio in Boston - where it would reach #1 that June - to make a gradual ascent on the national Pop chart: the Billboard Hot 100 to reach a #10 peak in August 1976.

Laura Branigan version

"Turn the Beat Around"
Single by Laura Branigan
from the album Laura Branigan
Released 1990 (1990)
Length 4:22
Label Atlantic
Laura Branigan singles chronology
"Never in a Million Years"
"Turn the Beat Around"
"Didn't We Almost Win It All"

Laura Branigan covered the song in 1990 becoming the first major artist to do so. It was released as the third and final single from her self-titled sixth studio album, however only to radio and clubs. The song was co-produced by Branigan and Steve Lindsey for the album, with several remix versions following garnering significant play in Hi-NRG clubs.

Track listings

7" single[5]
No. Title Length
1. "Turn the Beat Around" (Popcussion mix) 7:42
2. "Turn the Beat Around" (Don & Vic mix) 6:25
12" single[6]
No. Title Length
1. "Turn the Beat Around" (Popcussion mix) 7:42
2. "Turn the Beat Around" (Don & Vic mix) 6:25
3. "Turn the Beat Around" (Club House mix) 6:35
4. "Turn the Beat Around" (The Branipella mix) 3:53
5. "Turn the Beat Around" (Radio edit) 4:05

Gloria Estefan version

"Turn the Beat Around"
Single by Gloria Estefan
from the album Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me
Released September 23, 1994 (1994-09-23)
Format CD, cassette, 7", 12"
Recorded 1993–1994
Genre Disco, Hi-NRG, Dance-pop
Length 3:52
Label Epic
Gloria Estefan singles chronology
"Mi Tierra de Tradición"
"Turn the Beat Around"
"Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me"

In 1994 (see 1994 in music), the song was recorded by Gloria Estefan for the soundtrack to the film The Specialist. Released as a single, it became a hit reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is also featured on Estefan's fourth solo album Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me. She also sang the song as her opening performance in VH1's first ever Divas Live. She also took the song to the top spot on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart, making it her first number-one song on that chart in English.

In 1997, the song was featured by the Philippine Basketball Association, Asia's first and oldest professional basketball league. The cover version featured Benjie Paras, Nelson Asaytono, Bal David and others. It was aired on IBC 13 produced by Vintage Sports, a sports-oriented media company in the Philippines.[7]

In 2003, the song was featured in a Mitsubishi Kuda Grandia TV commercial in Indonesia.


Country Certification Sales
Australia (ARIA) Gold[8] 35,000
United States Gold 500,000


Peak positions

Chart (1994) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 10
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Top 40 20
UK Singles Chart 21
Australia (ARIA Chart)[9] 8

End of year charts

End of year chart (1995) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[10] 87
Preceded by
"Movin'" by Brass Construction
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
(Vicki Sue Robinson version)

March 20, 1976 - April 10, 1976
Succeeded by
"Love Hangover" by Diana Ross
Preceded by
"What I Need" by Crystal Waters
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
(Gloria Estefan version)

November 12, 1994
Succeeded by
"Dreamer" by Livin' Joy

Other versions


  1. ^  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ a b c "Touch of Class". Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ Arena, James (2014). First Legends of Disco. Bloomington IN: Author House. p. 274.  
  5. ^ "Laura Branigan - Turn the Beat Around (Vinyl, 7") at Discogs".  
  6. ^ "Laura Branigan - Turn the Beat Around (Vinyl, 12") at Discogs".  
  7. ^ PBA - Best Plays - 3 of 4
  8. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  9. ^ " > Gloria Estefan discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  10. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1995". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Turn The Tub Around: I Can’t Believe It’s A Commercial

External links

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