Singer Patricia “Bonnie” Pointer, founding member of the famous sibling group, The Pointer Sisters, has died at the age of 69. The death of Bonnie Pointer was confirmed in a note from the official The Pointer Sisters website.
Along with her youngest sister, June Pointer, Bonnie got her start singing in her father’s church in Oakland, CA. The two sisters formed The Pointers (a.k.a. The Pair) in 1969 and renamed the group The Pointer Sisters when Anita Pointer joined in later that year. Early on, the Pointers worked as backing vocalists for a variety of notable Bay Area acts like Grace Slick and Boz Scaggs. After recording a number of singles as a trio in 1971 and 1972, the eldest sister, Ruth Pointer, joined the group ahead of the recording of their self-titled debut LP in 1973. Below, watch The Pointer Sisters perform the Allen Toussaint-penned appeal for unity and tolerance, “Yes We Can Can”, which appears on their self-titled album, on Soul Train:
The Pointer Sisters – “Yes We Can Can” – Soul Train 1973
In 1974, Bonnie and Anita wrote crossover hit, “Fairytale”, which cracked the Top 20 on the pop charts and earned The Pointer Sisters their first Grammy for “Best Vocal by a Duo or Group, Country.” The song would go on to be recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley. While The Pointer Sisters went on to have their biggest era of commercial success after Bonnie left the group in 1977, the Bonnie-era lineup remains well-known for its penchant for crisscrossing genres.
The Pointer Sisters – “Fairytale”
During Bonnie’s tenure with the group, The Pointer Sisters adopted an Andrews Sisters-reminiscent aesthetic and singing style, though their music ranged in style from R&B to funk to gospel, country, rock n’ roll, and soul.
While Bonnie left The Pointer Sisters in 1977 to pursue a solo career with Motown Records before the group recorded breakout hits like “I’m So Excited” and “Jump (For My Love)”, she went on to record “Heaven Must Have Sent You” in 1978, which remains a disco classic.
Bonnie Pointer – “Heaven Must Have Sent You” (1979)