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"Turn the Beat Around" is a disco song written by Gerald Jackson and Peter Jackson and performed by Vicki Sue Robinson in 1976, 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, is featured on many compilation albums.


 [hide*1 Background


"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[edit][]

"Turn the Beat Around"
Single by Laura Branigan
from the album Laura Branigan
Released 1990
Format 7"12"
Genre Dance-pop
Length 4:22
Label Atlantic
Producer(s) Laura Branigan, Steve Lindsey
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.

Formats and track listings[edit][]

7" single[5]

  1. "Turn the Beat Around" (Popcussion mix) – 7:42
  2. "Turn the Beat Around" (Don & Vic mix) – 6:25

12" single[6]

  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

Official versions[edit][]

  • Album version – 4:22
  • Radio edit – 4:05
  • Club House mix – 6:35
  • Don & Vic mix – 6:25
  • Popcussion mix – 7:42
  • The Branipella mix – 3:53

Gloria Estefan version[edit][]

"Turn the Beat Around"
Single by Gloria Estefan
from the album Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me
Released September 23, 1994
Format CDcassette7"12"
Recorded 1993–1994
Genre 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 AsaytonoBal David and others. It was aired on IBC 13 produced by Vintage Sports, a sports-oriented media company in the Philippines.[7]


Country Certification Sales
Australia Gold 35,000
United States Gold 500,000


Peak positions[edit][]

Chart (1994) Peak


U.S. BillboardHot 100 13
U.S. BillboardHot Adult Contemporary Tracks 4
U.S. BillboardHot Dance Club Play 1
U.S. BillboardMainstream Top 40 20
UK Singles Chart 21

End of year charts[edit][]

End of year chart (1995) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[8] 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[edit][]