Vicki Sue Robinson
Vicki Sue Robinson - 01




Singer, actress, back-up vocalist, session musician


Disco, pop



Years active


Associated acts

Itsuro Shimoda, Robert Stigwood, Scott Fagan, Warren Schatz, Irene Cara, Cher, Michael Bolton, RuPaul, Cyndi Lauper, Jem

Vicki Sue Robinson (born May 31, 1954 – died April 27, 2000) was an American theatre and film actress and singer, closely associated with the disco era of late 1970s pop music. She is most famous for her 1976 hit, "Turn the Beat Around".

She provided both Rapture's and Minx's singing voices in the '80s animated series, Jem.

Early life and career

Born in Harlem, New York, to African-American Shakespearean actor Bill Robinson and his European-American wife Marianne, a folk singer. Vicki Sue Robinson was reared in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for most of her early years, returning with her family to New York City when she was ten. She had given her first public performance in 1960 at the age of six, when she accompanied her mother on stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Ten years later, at the age of sixteen, while a student at the New Lincoln School, Robinson made her professional performing debut when she joined the Broadway cast of the musical Hair. Robinson remained with Hair for six weeks before moving to a new Broadway production, Soon, whose cast included Peter Allen, Barry Bostwick, Nell Carter and Richard Gere.

After the show's short run, Robinson appeared in the Off-Broadway play Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone, in which she and Richard Gere played Mimi and Fariña respectively.

Robinson also had bit parts in the films Going Home (1971) and To Find A Man (1972). After a sojourn in Japan, Robinson returned to Broadway in 1973, joining the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Robinson made her recording debut as one of several Hair veterans invited to sing background on Todd Rundgren's Something/Anything? album released in 1972. In 1973 she spent time in Japan with Itsuro Shimoda, with whom she did session work on his album Love Songs and Lamentations and toured nationally.

"Turn the Beat Around"

In 1975, Robinson was providing vocals at a New York recording session for the album Many Sunny Places by Scott Fagan, a singer with whom she had performed in Greenwich Village clubs. Warren Schatz, a producer/engineer with RCA Records, was struck by Robinson's voice and saw her potential as a disco-oriented artist. Schatz invited Robinson to cut some demos including a remake of the Foundations' "Baby Now That I've Found You" which became Robinson's first solo release. Despite that track's failure, RCA green-lit Schatz's producing Robinson's debut album Never Gonna Let You Go. The title cut, a Schatz original, became a #10 disco hit but another album track, "Turn the Beat Around", began to build "buzz" and was expediently released as a single, topping the disco charts on March 20, 1976. "Turn the Beat Around" broke on Top 40 radio in Boston in May, almost immediately topping the charts there. Despite failure to crack the major market of Los Angeles, "Turn the Beat Around" reached the U.S. Top 10 in August, spending around six months overall on the Billboard Hot 100 and propelling the Never Gonna Let You Go album to #49. "Turn the Beat Around" would chart internationally, reaching #14 in Canada, #44 in France, #11 in the Netherlands and #12 in South Africa. The track would earn Robinson a nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

The 1980s

Robinson sang background on Irene Cara's hit single "Fame" in 1980, and as the decade progressed she returned to session work, backing Michael Bolton and Cher. She also established herself as a career jingle singer for such products as Wrigley's Doublemint chewing gum, Maybelline Cosmetics, Downy fabric softener, Hanes underwear, New York Bell, and Folger's coffee.

From 1987 to 1988, Robinson provided the singing voice for the characters Rapture and Minx in the animated TV series Jem.


On April 27, 2000, eleven days after the release of Red Lipstick, Robinson died of cancer at her home in Wilton, Connecticut.



Year Album
1976 Never Gonna Let You Go
Vicki Sue Robinson
1978 Half & Half
1979 Movin' On


  • Going Home - 1971
  • To Find A Man - 1972
  • Gangsters - 1979
  • Unauthorized Biography: Milo, Death Of A Supermodel - 1997
  • Red Lipstick - 2000


  • Hair - 1970
  • Soon - 1971
  • Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone - 1971
  • Voices From The Third World - 1972
  • Jesus Christ Superstar - 1973
  • Vicki Sue Robinson: Behind The Beat - 1999


External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Vicki Sue Robinson. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the Jem Wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.