Bonnie Pointer, one of the founding members of the Pointer Sisters passed away Monday at the age of 69.
The sisters began singing in the West Oakland Church of God in Oakland, CA, their father’s church, more than 50 years ago.
Bonnie Pointer was born in Oakland, California. She began singing in the choir of her father Reverend Elton Pointer's church. Bonnie and youngest sister June began singing together as teenagers and in 1969 the duo had co-founded The Pointers, otherwise known as ‘The Pair.’ After Anita joined the duo that same year, they changed their name to ‘The Pointer Sisters’ and recorded several singles for Atlantic Records between 1971 and 1972. In December 1972, they recruited oldest sister Ruth and released their debut album as ‘The Pointer Sisters’ in 1973. Their self-titled debut yielded the classic hit ‘Yes We Can Can.’
Bonnie left the group in the mid-1970s to pursue a solo career.
In Ruth Pointer’s memoir, “I’m So Excited: My Life as a Pointer,” she talked about her sister. “Bonnie in particular was driven, citing a desperate need to do something with her life. She was wild, fierce, and not to be denied. She hung out in Haight-Ashbury with the hippies, protested at Berkeley, wrote poetry with Angela Davis, and dated Huey Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party.”
Bonnie always said she knew she didn’t want to work a regular 9 to 5 job. She said "I wanted to do something that I like to do. I am an entertainer and I’ve always done that since I was a little girl. My mother always used to tell me to dance for her friends. When my parents went to church, me and my sisters would get up on the coffee table and sing. We would use a pie pan as a tambourine. Then, when I was in high school someone told me I could sing. I never thought I really could. I would sing along with Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. So when they told me I could sing I started to believe them.”
The family’s youngest sister, June, died in 2006. A few months ago, Bonnie and Anita released a tribute song for June, “Feels Like June.” A spokesperson said it was Bonnie’s final recording.
Bonnie Pointer is survived by her brothers Aaron and Fritz and sisters Ruth and Anita Pointer.
RIP Bonnie. You will be missed.
Jack Kulp and Carolyn McArdle talked about Bonnie Pointer on the air. Listen below...