Published Jun 08, 2020Bonnie Pointer, a member and co-founder of the Pointer Sisters, has died. Pointer's passing was confirmed by sibling and groupmate Anita Pointer today, though a cause of death was not revealed. Bonnie Pointer was 69.
"It is with great sadness that I have to announce to the fans of the Pointer Sisters that my sister, Bonnie died this morning," Anita wrote 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."
Anita added, "Bonnie was my best friend and we talked every day, we never had a fight in our life. I already miss her and I will see her again one day."
Growing up in West Oakland, the Pointer children began singing in their father's church. As young adults, Bonnie and younger sister June began performing in clubs as a duo ahead of Anita joining the fold.
The trio would soon find work singing backup on studio sessions for Taj Mahal, Grace Slick, Boz Scaggs and more, ahead of landing their own recording contract with Atlantic in 1971. This first deal yielded little commercial success, which led the group to retool as a quartet featuring sister Ruth in late 1972.
As a quartet, the Pointer Sisters would release a self-titled debut through Blue Thumb Records in 1973. First single "Yes We Can Can," written by Allen Toussaint, earned the sisters a Top 20 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
The group would follow that up with sophomore album That's a Plenty in 1974. The LP features "Fairytale," a country-leaning song co-written by Bonnie and Anita that landed on both the pop and country charts. Its success led the Pointer Sisters to become the first African-American vocal group to perform at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry.
Following the 1975 release of Steppin', Bonnie would leave the Pointer Sisters in 1977 to pursue a solo career. Her self-titled solo debut, released in 1978 through Motown, featured "Heaven Must Have Sent You," a disco version of the Elgins's 1966 single that would earn her another spot in the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Bonnie would record three more solo albums — 1979's self-titled, 1984's If the Price Is Right and 2011's Like a Picasso — and would continue to perform live in the time before her passing. She appeared as herself in Monte Hellman's 2010 film Road to Nowhere.