“It is with great sadness that I have to announce to the fans of The Pointer Sisters that my sister, Bonnie died this morning,” Bonnie’s sister Anita Pointer said in a statement. “Our family is devastated, on behalf of my siblings and I and the entire Pointer family, we ask for your prayers at this time.”
Bonnie Pointer was born in Oakland, California. As a child, she and her sisters—Ruth, Anita, and June—sang at their father’s church. In the last ’60s, Bonnie and June formed a group called Pointers—A Pair. They were later joined by Anita, and the Pointer Sisters was born. The sisters released a series of albums on Blue Thumb Records that drew on gospel, jazz, and funk. Ruth joined in 1972. In 1973, the Pointer Sisters released their self-titled debut and had their first hit with “Yes We Can Can.”
“Fairytale,” a song off their 1974 record That’s a Plenty, won the group a Grammy for best country vocal performance by a duo or group. Thanks to the song’s success, they were the first African-American vocal group to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. “Fairytale” was later covered by Elvis Presley.
In 1977, Bonnie left the group to pursue a solo career. The Pointer Sisters went on find greater commercial success as a trio without Bonnie in the lineup (with songs like “I’m So Excited,” “Jump (For My Love),” and “Automatic”). Bonnie released four solo albums, beginning with a self-titled debut for Motown in 1978. Her disco rework of the Elgins’ “Heaven must Have Sent you” reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Pointer Sisters reunited to celebrate their Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 1994. Bonnie released her final solo album, Like a Picasso, in 2011. In 2010, she played herself in the film Road to Nowhere.
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork