Vicki Sue Robinson turned the disco and pop music world upside down with her rousing 1976 Top Ten Pop smash, "Turn The Beat Around." A strong, vibrant vocalist, Robinson's records were among some of the best produced and arranged '70s disco releases with solid beats built on solid songs. Born in Harlem (or Philadelphia) in 1955, Robinson's birth was the result of a union between a black actor and white folk singer. Her professional debut was at the Philadelphia Folk Festival when she was 6. Her eclectic heritage was also reflected in her wide ranging love of different types of music performers. Her favorites included Dinah Washington, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Laura Nyro, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Sarah Vaughn.
As a teenager, Robinson appeared in the Broadway hit, [RoviLink="VW"]Hair, and having been discovered by Robert Stigwood (RSO Records, The Bee Gees) she joined the cast of [RoviLink="VW"]Jesus Christ Superstar. Her varied career include stints as a model, waitress and recording with Japanese artists Sadistic Mica Band and Itsuru Shimoda and working at Ms. Magazine.
Signed to RCA Records in the mid '70s by producer Warren Schatz, she had four albums on the imprint, Never Gonna Let You (spring 1976), Vicki Sue Robinson (fall 1976), Half and Half (1978) and Movin' On (1979). "Turn The Beat Around," written by Pete and Gerald Jackson reached #10 Pop on Billboard's Pop chart in summer 1976, earning Robinson a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Female. Her other favorites include her cover of Bobby Womack's "Daylight" and "Hold Tight." Her movie roles include [RoviLink="VW"]Going Home with Robert Mitchum in 1971 and 1972's [RoviLink="VW"]To Find A Man with Lloyd Bridges.
In between being an in-demand jingles singer, Robinson starred in her own 1999 off-Broadway play,[RoviLink="VW"]Vicki Sue Robinson: Behind The Beat. The play was a continuation of her popular, enticing cabaret show. She happily made the TV talk show circuit, inviting everyone to the show and joyously performed her signature song, "Turn The Beat Around." It's appeared on numerous various artists sets (Disco Divas: Salute to the Ladies, Turn the Beat Around: Great Disco Hits, 70's Disco Ball Party Pack, Disco Box Sampler, Decades of Dance 60's 70's & 80's, Super Party, Vol.1 and Millennium Disco Party) with the 12" mix being a part of Groovin' You: Big 12 Inches issued May 1999 by BMG/ Buddha. In the '90s, her "House of Joy" single was a UK dance smash.
At the age of 46, Vicki Sue Robinson died of cancer at her Wilton, Connecticut home on April 27, 2000. ~ Ed Hogan
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