- 09 Jun 20
The cause of death was not announced.
Bonnie Pointer has died at the age of 69-years-old, her older sister Anita has announced in a statement.
Bonnie was one of the two founding members of the Pointer Sisters, from Oakland, California - the groundbreaking group who blended jazz, R&B, scat and 1940s harmonising with country.
In a statement made on Monday, Anita said, “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.”
The Pointer Sisters grew up singing in church, where their father was a minister.
Referring to themselves as “The Pointers, A Pair,” June and Bonnie created the original group in 1969. The group had expanded to include their two oldest sisters - Anita and Ruth - by 1973.
While touring with Dave Mason, they were asked to wear dresses instead of jeans, and on the road in New Orleans, they found a thrift shop that sold Depression-era costume. The group purposefully played with different eras in their fashion style and genre-bending music.
The Pointers’ first major pop hit, 'Yes We Can Can,' became a funky unity anthem. The band became one of the earliest African American groups to cross over to country with fiddle-driven 1974 ballad, 'Fairytale'.
Written by Bonnie and June, 'Fairytale' was a hit on the country charts and scored the group its first of three Grammys.
Bonnie was described as “brash and sassy” in an early profile, and decided to leave the group in 1977 after signing a solo contract with Motown. She soon scored a hit with disco smash 'Heaven Must Have Sent You'.
“I’m adventurous,” she said in 1985. ”I like taking a risk. I wanted to see what I could do on my own.”
The other sisters still called themselves the Pointer Sisters after Bonnie left, and went on to even greater success. They rebranded their sound and image with a new version of Bruce Springsteen's 'Fire'.
From then until the mid Eighties, they had hit after hit: 'He’s So Shy','Slow Hand,' 'I’m So Excited,' 'Neutron Dance' and 'Jump (For My Love)' - scoring two more Grammys.
Bonnie never repeated the success of 'Heaven Must have Sent You' and endured substance abuse issues. She was arrested in 2011 for possession of crack cocaine after her sister June died.
“I was the first one to step out and start singing in public,” Bonnie said in 1979.
“I wanted to be in show business, and everyone else was sort of, ‘Well we might not make it — it’s going to be hard.'”