“The Pointer Sisters would never have happened had it not been for Bonnie,” Anita Pointer said in a statement about her younger sister, Bonnie, as quoted by the Associated Press.
The Pointer Sisters are an American R&B group, though simply calling them an R&B group would be doing them a disservice. Founding members and sisters June, Bonnie, Anita, and Ruth successfully managed to cross genres multiple times, and have released material with country, funk, rock, and blues influences.
When it comes to country music, The Pointer Sisters experienced immense success with their 1974 song “Fairytale.” The track was co-written by Anita and Bonnie, and was featured on their album That’s a Plenty.
The track marked a major departure from their typical style, so the Sisters took a risk in releasing it. But that risk paid off, and the song went on to become a country and crossover hit.
The Pointer Sisters began promoting “Fairytale” with a series of performances, including one at the Grand Ole Opry on October 25, 1974. Their performance marked the first time an African-American vocal group had ever performed on the Opry stage.
Later, “Fairytale” went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
While speaking with the Youngstown Vindicator in October 1974, Bonnie dismissed critics who said the Sisters’ foray into country music was insincere:
“People think because we’re always trying something different we’re not sincere,” she said. “Like country music. For us, it’s no joke…Our folks came from Arkansas and we grew up singing country songs. It’s part of us.”
Even though Bonnie was a founding member of the group, she soon found herself wanting to branch out on her own. She left her sisters in 1977 to start a solo career and recorded three albums before she stepped back from performing.
After Bonnie left the group, her sisters initially didn’t know if they could go on. But they decided to continue without her, and June, Anita, and Ruth went on to create a number of other hits as the Pointer Sisters.
Bonnie publicly reunited with her sisters twice: when they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994 and during a 1996 show in Las Vegas.
Youngest sister June passed away in 2006. Just this year, Bonnie and Anita reunited to release a song in their baby sister’s honor, titled “Feels Like June.”
Sadly, now Anita is left to mourn the loss of Bonnie as well.
Bonnie’s publicist Roger Neal spoke with the Associated Press to share the news that Bonnie passed away on Monday (June 8) due to cardiac arrest. She was 69 years old:
“It is with great sadness that I have to announce to the fans of the Pointer Sisters that my sister, Bonnie died this morning,” sister Anita Pointer said in a statement that was quoted by the Associated Press. “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 (@PointerOfficial) June 8, 2020
In addition to her sisters Anita and Ruth (who still performs in the Pointer Sisters with her daughter and granddaughter), Bonnie is survived by her brothers Aaron and Fritz.
Our hearts go out to Bonnie’s brothers and sisters during this sad time. She may be gone, but her legacy will live on through all of the extraordinary music she created.