Patricia Eva “Bonnie” Pointer (July 11, 1950 – June 8, 2020) was an American singer, and founding member of the legendary vocal group, The Pointer Sisters, as well as a solo performer.
Bonnie Pointer and her youngest sister June began singing together in their father’s West Oakland Church of God in California. They formed The Pointers, also known as The Pair, in 1969. After their sister 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 hit “Yes We Can Can”. Between 1973 and 1977, the Pointers Sisters wore 1940s fashions and sang in a style similar to The Andrews Sisters.
They also worked as backing vocalists for a wide range of San Francisco-based artists including Boz Scaggs, Sylvester, and Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick.
Their music included R&B, funk, rock and roll, gospel, country and soul.
Anita and Bonnie Pointer wrote the group’s crossover country hit, “Fairytale,” in 1974, which also became a Top 20 pop hit and won the group their first Grammy for Best Vocal by a Duo or Group, Country. Anita and Bonnie Pointer also were nominated for Best Country Song at the same ceremony.
In 1977, Bonnie Pointer left her sisters to begin a solo career. The remaining sisters continued scoring hits through to the mid-1980s and had a major breakthrough with their 1983 album “Break Out”.
In 1978, Bonnie married Motown Records producer Jeffrey Bowen, signed with Motown and in the same year released “Heaven Must Have Sent You,” which reached No. 11 on Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Reviewing Bonnie Pinter’s 1978 self-titled LP, Robert Christgau wrote in Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981): “Thanks to (co-producer) Berry Gordy and the miracle of modern multitracking, Bonnie makes like the Marvelettes of your dreams for an entire side. People didn’t conceive vocals this intricate and funky back in Motown’s prime, much less overdub them single-larynxed, and the result is remakes that outdo the originals—by Brenda Holloway and the Elgins—and originals that stand alongside. The other side comprises originals of more diminutive stature co-written by (co-producer) Jeffrey Bowen.”
She released three solo albums for Motown, including two self-titled albums, before retiring from the studio.
Although she retired from recording Bonnie Pointer continued to perform, and appeared on Soul Train on March 2, 1985.
She reunited with her sisters on two separate occasions, firstly when the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994, and then during a Las Vegas performance in 1996 singing “Jump (for My Love)”.
There were basically two different versions of the Pointer Sisters, the 1980s hit machine, a trio without Bonnie, whose sound was a mix of soul and shiny synth-pop, and had the hits “I’m So Excited” and “Jump (For My Love)”, and the original Pointer Sisters, when Bonnie Pointer was still a member, who were a very different and some might think a far more intriguing and interesting group, a quartet, dressed in a kind of 1940s glamour, whose sound zigzagged unpredictably and quite wittily between jazz, soul, blues and country.
In 2008, Bonnie Pointer went on a European tour, performed at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and was working on her autobiography. In 2010 she starred in Monte Hellman’s romantic thriller “Road to Nowhere”.
In early 2020, Anita and Bonnie Pointer released a single in memory of their sister June, who had died in 2006.
Bonnie Pointer died in Los Angeles from cardiac arrest on June 8, 2020, aged 69.
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