Anita Pointer, of the Pointer Sisters, Dies at 74

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The Pointer Sisters earned their first hit in 1973 with this song

Anita Pointer, who rose to fame with her sisters Bonnie, Ruth and June in the ’70s in the popular singing group the Pointer Sisters, died Saturday (Dec. 31, 2022), of cancer. She was 74. The news was shared by her publicist, Roger Neal, who noted that she was surrounded by family at the time of her death. In a statement, her family said, “While we are deeply saddened by the loss of Anita, we are comforted in knowing she is now with her daughter, Jada and her sisters June and Bonnie and at peace. She was the one that kept all of us close and together for so long. Her love of our family will live on in each of us. Heaven is a more loving beautiful place with Anita there.”

Ruth, 76, is the only surviving sister. Baby sister June died in 2006 at just 52, of cancer. Bonnie Pointer died in 2020 of cardiac arrest.

The sisters first found fame in 1973, when the Anita-led “Yes We Can Can” reached #11 on the Hot 100. A follow-up single, “Fairytale,” reached #14.

Related: The biggest radio hits of 1973

Anita Marie Pointer was born in Oakland, Calif., on Jan. 23, 1948, the fourth of six children to Reverend Elton and Sarah Pointer. Anita and her sisters grew up singing in their dad’s church. In the tenth grade Anita played alto sax as a member of the McRae High School band. In 1969 Anita quit her job as a secretary to join her younger sisters Bonnie, June and her sister Ruth to form the Pointer Sisters.

Anita (at R) with sisters Bonnie (L) and Ruth  in 1975

Bonnie missed out on the group’s biggest successes when she left in 1977 for a solo career. Her biggest single outside of the Pointer Sisters was in 1979 with “Heaven Must Have Sent You,” which reached #11 on the U.S. chart.

Without their sibling, the sisters teamed with producer Richard Perry and caught fire with a trio of smash singles from 1979-1981. The first was their 1979 cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire,” which reached #2. That single was followed in consecutive years with “He’s So Shy” (#3) and “Slow Hand” (#2).

The hits kept coming. In 1984, the Pointer Sisters scored four Top 10 pop hits with “Automatic,” “Jump (For My Love),” “I’m So Excited” and “Neutron Dance.”

As a result, their 1983 album Break Out (via Planet Records/RCA) reached multi-platinum status and won the group two of their three Grammy Awards.

In 1994, the sisters received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Anita’s only daughter, Jada Pointer, passed away in 2003.

Related: Musicians we lost in 2022

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