Group Biography (short)
The Pointer Sisters have enjoyed a long and successful career in the music industry. They began their formal vocal training in their father's church, The Church of God in West Oakland, California. They went on to achieve world-wide fame and have secured a place in pop music history. In 2017, Billboard listed them as one of the Top 5 female groups of all time.
Their 1973 debut album quickly earned them mainstream success and they landed all over radio, television and the Billboard charts. In 1975, the quartet won their first Grammy Award for a country-western tune, "Fairytale", written by Anita and Bonnie Pointer. As a result, the sisters became the first black female group to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. The "King", himself, Elvis Presley recorded their song on his last studio album. The group hit the big screen in 1976 in the film Car Wash, starring Richard Pryor. That same year, they recorded their fourth and final album as a quartet.
When the sisters became a trio, consisting of Anita, June and Ruth, they decided to record a rock n' roll album. The trio's debut single, Bruce Springsteen's "Fire", went to #2 on the pop charts and began a string of chart success. The song "He's So Shy" became an anthem for the women's movement and the single "Slow Hand" was a sultry, sexy song with some radio stations at the time refusing to play it. Nevertheless, the song reached #2 on the charts and remains a favorite.
The title of their 1983 album summed up exactly what the trio was about to do: Break Out. Upon its release, critics called the new album "The Pointer Sisters at their sassiest, brassiest, up-tempo best." When Ruth took the lead for "Automatic", her deeper-than-deep vocals practically leapt off the vinyl, and helped the single go all the way to #5. With the advent of 24-hour-a-day music on television, The Pointer Sisters became one of the first black acts to have their videos played in heavy rotation on MTV. "Jump (for my love)" raced to #3 on the pop charts and "I'm So Excited" hit the Top 10! To date, the song has been played over 2.5 million times on radio. "Neutron Dance" featuring gospel-spiked shouts rose to #6 on the charts and was included in the hit film, "Beverly Hills Cop". The success of the album earned the sisters two Grammy Awards and two American Music Awards. Break Out was certified triple-platinum, making it the biggest selling album of The Pointer Sisters' career. Their next album achieved platinum success and produced the hit single "Dare Me" and another American Music Award. Before the decade was over, the sisters starred in their own TV special on NBC.
Over the years, the group has received many awards and accolades, including a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They've recorded sixteen albums, plus a cast album to highlight their 46 week tour of the musical Ain't Misbehavin'. They were honored to take part in the recording of "We Are The World".
In recent years, the group has performed with some of the greatest symphony orchestras in the world, including San Francisco, Jacksonville, Atlanta's Symphony Orchestra and the renowned Boston Pops. Ruth Pointer continues to perform the music of The Pointer Sisters all over the globe with her daughter and granddaughter.
By: Paul Ciulla