Anita Pointer, co-founding member of The Pointer Sisters, has died at the age of 74.
“She fought a very heroic battle with cancer,” Pointer’s representative told The Hollywood Reporter. “She was surrounded by family at the time of her death.”
The Pointer Sisters’ origins date back to 1969 when Bonnie and June Pointer 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 Atlantic 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.
Following Bonnie’s departure in 1977 to pursue a solo career, The Pointer Sisters moved forward as a trio. The change in lineup did not impact the group’s success, however, won a pair of Grammys for their songs “Jump (For My Love)” and “Automatic.” Meanwhile, their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire” and “Slow Hand” both peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
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