The Pointer Sisters were an American soul-pop group from Oakland, formed in 1969 by sisters Anita, June, and Bonnie Pointer. Starting life as a retro-1940s cabaret act, the sisters released four albums and a live disc on Blue Thumb/ABC between 1973 and 1977.
Switching to contemporary soul-pop, the Pointer Sisters released six albums on Richard Perry’s Planet Records between 1978 and 1983, scoring hits with “Fire,” “He’s So Shy,” “Slow Hand,” “I’m So Excited,” “Jump,” and “Automatic,” the last three included on their aptly-titled 1983 album Break Out! On RCA during the mid-’80s, they scored further hits with “Neutron Dance” (from Beverly Hills Cop), “Dare Me,” and “Twist My Arm.”
Members: Anita Pointer (vocals), June Pointer (vocals, 1969-2000), Bonnie Pointer (vocals, 1969-77), Ruth Pointer (vocals, 1972-present)
The four Pointer Sisters — Ruth Esther Pointer (b. 1946), Anita Marie Pointer (b. 1948), Patricia Eva “Bonnie” Pointer (1950–2020), and June Antoinette Pointer (1953–2006) — first performed, along with their brothers, in a children’s choir under the guidance of family patriarch Reverend Elton Pointer, pastor at the West Oakland Church of God in Christ. Though their parents forbade secular music, the girls gravitated to R&B and rock as teenagers.
In 1969, Ruth and Anita were already married with children when their two younger sisters, Bonnie and June, formed the duo Pointers, a Pair. Anita soon left her job to join the act, which gigged and served as backing vocalists for Sylvester and Boz Scaggs. On the night of a 1971 engagement with Elvin Bishop, they got signed to Atlantic Records.
The trio’s first Atlantic single, “Don’t Try to Take the Fifth” (b/w “Tulsa County”), appeared in November 1971. It was followed in August 1972 with “Destination No More Heartaches” (b/w “Send Him Back”). Both singles were produced and arranged by Wardell Quezergue, whose contemporary credits include recordings by Tami Lynn, Jean Knight, and Irma Thomas.
In December 1972, Ruth joined the group, which signed to Blue Thumb Records. To distinguish their act from others on the US R&B scene, the sisters adopted a neo-1940s look and sound that matched campy retro attire with elements of jump blues, vocal jazz, and be-bop.
- The Pointer Sisters (1973)
- That’s a Plenty (1974)
- Live at the Opera House (1974)
- Steppin’ (1975)
- Having a Party (1977)
- Energy (1978)
- Priority (1979)
- Special Things (1980)
- Black & White (1981)
- So Excited! (1982)
- Break Out (1983)
- Contact (1985)
- Hot Together (1986)
- Serious Slammin’ (1988)
Mamba was a Swedish Latin/jazz-rock band from Malmö, Skåne län, formed in 1976 and active for fiv...
The Lemon Kittens were an English avant-punk duo from Reading, Berkshire, comprised of multi-instr...
The South Shore Commission were an American soul-funk band from Washington, D.C., that released a ...
Pigbag were an English New Wave/jazz-funk band from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, that released a p...
Wazmo Nariz were an American New Wave band from Chicago. Members: Wazmo Nariz [Larry Grennan] (v...