Disco diva Vicki Sue Robinson died of cancer Thursday at her home in Connecticut. The “Turn the Beat Around” singer was 44.
Robinson had only one major hit, but “Turn the Beat Around” is now synonymous with the disco era. The 1976 single spent 25 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, peaking at #10.
Born May 31, 1955, Robinson began singing in musicals, most notably in the Broadway production of the rock musical “Hair.” When disco fell out of fashion in the late 1970s and early ’80s, Robinson began singing commercial jingles. In 1999, she presented an autobiographical play, “Behind the Beat,” in nightclubs and then in an off-Broadway theater.
While “Turn the Beat Around” was Robinson’s only big hit, the song’s chorus is one of the disco era’s most famous. The song has appeared on numerous disco compilations and the soundtrack to the 1997 film “The Full Monty.” Latin pop singer Gloria Estefan had a 1994 hit with a remake of “Turn the Beat Around” (RealAudio excerpt), which appeared on her album Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me, and it was on the soundtrack of the Sylvester Stallone/Sharon Stone movie “The Specialist.”