Bonnie Pointer, of the Grammy Award-winning vocal group The Pointer Sisters, has died at the age of 69.
In a statement to TMZ, Anita Pointer confirmed her sister’s passing. “It is with great sadness that I have to announce to the fans of The Pointer Sisters that my sister, Bonnie died this morning. Our family is devastated, on behalf of my siblings and I and the entire Pointer family, we ask for your prayers at this time.”
The Pointer Sisters’ origins date back to 1969 when Bonnie and sister June began performing in night clubs under the name Pointers, a Pair. They soon rebranded themselves as The Pointer Sisters and expanded from a duo to a quartet with the addition of their other sisters Anita and Ruth. Following a short stint with Atlanta Records, the group found their stride after signing to Blue Thumb Records in 1972. The Pointer Sisters’ self-titled debut album was released the following year, and featured their first top 20 hit single in “Yes We Can Can”, which was written by Allen Toussaint.
Their second hit, the country-tinged “Fairytale”, as featured on 1974’s That’s a Plenty, brought the group their first Grammy win for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group. It also led to an invite to the Grand Ol Opry, marking the first time an African American Group performed on the program.
Their 1975 album Steppin’ brought even more success to the group, as the single “How Long (Betcha’ Got a Chick on the Side)” was nominated for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in addition to cracking the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. The following year, the sisters appeared in the classic blaxploitation film Car Wash, and were also featured on the corresponding soundtrack.
In 1977, Bonnie left The Pointer Sisters to pursue a solo career. Her debut solo single, “Heaven Must Have Sent You”, reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Following the release of three solo albums, Bonnie largely retired from recorded music, but continued to perform and tour regularly.