The Pointer Sisters are an American R&B singing group from Oakland, California that achieved mainstream success during the 1970s and 1980s. Spanning over four decades, their repertoire has included such diverse genres as pop, disco, jazz, electronic music, bebop, blues, soul, funk, dance, country and rock. The Pointer Sisters have won three Grammy Awards and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994. The group had 13 US top 20 hits between 1973 and 1985.
The group had its origins when sisters June and Bonnie Pointer began performing in clubs in 1969 as ‘Pointers, a Pair’. The line-up grew to a trio when sister Anita Pointer joined them. They got a record deal with Atlantic Records and released several unsuccessful singles. The trio grew to a quartet when sister Ruth joined in December 1972. They then signed with Blue Thumb Records, recorded their debut album, and began seeing more success, winning a Grammy Award in 1975 for Best Country Vocal Performance for “Fairytale” (1974). Bonnie left the group in 1978 to commence a solo career with modest success.
The group achieved its greatest commercial success as a trio during the 1980s consisting of the line-up of June, Ruth, and Anita, winning two more Grammys for the top 10 hits “Jump (For My Love)” (1984) and “Automatic” (1984). The group’s other U.S. top 10 hits are “Fire” (1979), “He’s So Shy” (1980), “Slow Hand” (1981), the remixed version of “I’m So Excited” (1984) and “Neutron Dance” (1985).
June Pointer, the youngest sister, struggled with drug addiction for much of her career, leaving the group in April 2004 prior to her death from cancer in April 2006, at the age of 52. She was replaced by Ruth’s daughter Issa Pointer. This trio had a number two hit in Belgium in 2005, covering “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” with Belgian singer Natalia. Between 2009 and 2015, the group consisted of Anita, Ruth, Issa, and Ruth’s granddaughter Sadako Pointer. While all four women remained in the group, they most often performed as a trio rotating the lineup as needed. In 2015, Anita was forced to retire due to ill health, leaving Ruth the sole member of the original sibling line-up.
In December 2016, Billboard magazine ranked them as the 80th most successful dance artists of all-time. In December 2017, Billboard magazine ranked them as the 93rd most successful Hot 100 Artist of all-time and as the 32nd most successful Hot 100 Women Artist of all-time.
Bonnie Pointer was arrested for allegedly possessing crack cocaine on November 18, 2011, in South Los Angeles, after the car she was riding in was pulled over for a mechanical malfunction. Bonnie filed for divorce from her husband, Motown Records producer Jeffrey Bowen, on July 1, 2014. On June 8, 2020, Bonnie Pointer died in Los Angeles, she was 69.