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  Pointer Sisters





















Has their ever been a more diverse female vocal group than the Pointer Sisters? They are best known for their 80s hits, which makes them counterparts of Kool and the Gang, another act that smoothed out their funkier edges for pop success. Indeed, during a career that started in the 60s and continues to this day, their ability to traverse funk, jazz, and pop is unparalleled.

The origins of the group are in Oakland, where Anita, Ruth, Bonnie, and June grew up in a strict household where both parents were preachers. Not surprisingly, the church was where the sisters began singing. When the decision was made to pursue music as a career, Ruth declined as she was working to support her family.

As a trio, the sisters achieved notoriety for their blazing performances as backing singers for a variety of rock stars. A preliminary deal with Atlantic produced no recordings.

In 1972, Ruth joined the group. The same year, they were signed to Blue Thumb by David Rubinson, one of their earliest supporters. It was during this period that the concept of creating a well-rounded act, one that included touches of the blues, 40s styled nostalgia and jazz, was developed.

The debut single "Yes We Can Can" rose to the top of the charts in 1973 and the Pointer Sisters soon became the IT (most talked about) group in the black community. In a shout-out to Oakland, they jokingly compared their popularity to the Black Panthers, and their performance on Soul Train demonstrates the love that people had for them. The self-titled LP was the first of their seven gold or platinum records.

Ensuing years found the sisters attaining greater and greater heights. Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder guested on Steppin', which included another funk scorcher, "How Long." With their throwback image and crystal clear harmonies, their stage show was something to behold, and they were the first pop act to play the San Francisco Opera House. They even won a grammy for best Country song for "Fairytale" in 1974 and an invite to the Grand Old Opry. They were pioneering in ways not even the Supremes had managed.

1977's Having A Party didn't garner much attention, and Bonnie signed a solo deal with Motown, where her husband Jeffery Bowen was an executive. Her two self-titled albums were mostly forgettable Motown covers save for "Heaven Must Have Sent You." She also had minor success with "Free Me From My Freedom," featuring Funkadelic guitar god Eddie Hazel.

After a re-evaluation of their career, the remaining sisters decided to sign with Planet. There, in conjunction with producer Richard Perry, they revamped their style towards a more pop-friendly sound.

Results were immediate. The Bruce Springsteen tune "Fire" was their biggest hit to date and remains a fan favorite. From there it seemed like the Pointer Sisters couldn't miss: between 1980 and 1985, they assaulted the charts with "Automatic," "Slow Hand," "He's So Shy," "Jump (For My Love)," and "I'm So Excited," songs still heard on the airwaves and 80s compilations. "Neutron Dance" managed the rare feat of becoming a bigger hit when included on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack than it was on their biggest-selling album, Break Out.

The group maintained a high profile throughout the decade and stayed on the charts into the 90s. Their last album was a collection of songs from Ain't Misbehavin'.

Tragedy struck the family when June, lead singer on "Jump," "He's So Shy" and "Fire," succumbed to cancer on April 11, 2006 from cancer.

Their site is

The Pointers Sisters' Deepest Grooves

Pointer Sisters (Blue Thumb, 1973)
Also contains their version of the blues classic "Wang Dang Doodle."

That's A Plenty (Blue Thumb, 1974)

Live at the Opera House (Blue Thumb, 1974) A transcendent moment that captures the throes of early Pointer-mania. The unbelievably diverse set is essential for understanding the pre-pop Pointers

Steppin (Blue Thumb, 1975) 

Havin' A Party (Blue Thumb, 1977) 
Largely neglected record resurged with "Don't It Drive You Crazy." Title cut is a Sam Cooke cover.

Energy (Planet, 1978) 

Priority (Planet, 1979)

 Special Things (Planet, 1980) 

Black and White (Planet, 1981)

 So Excited (Planet, 1982) 

Break Out (Planet, 1983) 
New wave, rock, soul, this album has it all. The definitive 80s Pointer Sisters.

Contact (Planet, 1985) 

Hot Together (RCA, 1986) 

Serious Slammin' (RCA, 1988) 

Right Rhythm (RCA, 1990) 

Only Sisters Can Do That (SBK, 1993) 

Very Best of the Pointer Sisters (RCA, 1996)

Yes We Can Can: Best of Blue Thumb Recordings (Hip-O, 1997)

Platinum and Gold Collection (Hip-O, 2004)
Decent collection of crossover hits, a good set for the novice fan.

Millennium Collection (Hip-O, 2004)

Copyright ©2006  All rights reserved.

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