Anita Pointer of Pointer Sister’s fame, dead at age 74; Ruth only sister left

Anita Pointer in 1974. By Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989, https


Anita Marie Pointer (January 23, 1948 – December 31, 2022) was an American singer-songwriter, best known as a founding member of the vocal group the Pointer Sisters. She co-wrote and was the lead singer on their hit song “Fairytale“, which garnered them their first Grammy Award in 1975. She was also the lead singer on many of their other hits, including “Fire“, “Slow Hand“, and “I’m So Excited“.


Pointer and her sisters found fame in 1973, when she sang lead on “Yes We Can Can“, which reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1974, Pointer’s writing talents helped the group make music history when “Fairytale” became a hit on the country music charts and enabled the Pointer Sisters to become the first black female group to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. “Fairytale”, written by Pointer and her sister Bonnie and featuring Pointer on lead vocals, earned the group its first Grammy Award, winning Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group and receiving a Grammy nomination for the Best Country Song of the year in 1975.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Pointer Sisters rose to higher levels of success. Pointer was the lead singer on many of their hits, including “Fire” (1978) and “Slow Hand” (1981), which both reached No. 2 on the Billboard pop chart, and “I’m So Excited” (1982), which spent 40 weeks on the chart. She sang backup on other hits, with June leading “Jump (For My Love)“, which won the 1985 Grammy for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals, and “Automatic” featured Ruth as lead and won the Grammy for best vocal arrangement for two or more voices, also in 1985. Both songs were from the 1983 album Break Out, which reached triple-platinum status. Other Pointer Sisters’ hits included “He’s So Shy” (1980) and “Neutron Dance” (1984), which was popularized in the opening scene of the film Beverly Hills Cop. From 1973 to 1985, they had 13 top-20 pop hits in the United States.

In 1986, Pointer found chart success with country superstar Earl Thomas Conley on the song “Too Many Times“, which reached No. 2 on the country chart. In 1987, she released her first solo album Love for What It Is. Her album’s first single “Overnight Success” reached No. 41 on the Billboard R&B chart. A second single from the album, More Than a Memory, also charted, reaching No. 73 R&B in 1988.

In 1994, Pointer and her sisters received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 1998, Pointer was singularly inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. In 2015, she retired from the Pointer Sisters after medical issues following chemotherapy.

In February 2020, Pointer released the book, Fairytale: The Pointer Sisters’ Family Story which was co-written with her brother, Fritz Pointer. The book chronicles the Pointer family origins and history as well as finding themselves as young black women in the San Francisco Bay Area during the Civil Rights and Black Power movement of the late 1960s. As well, it describes the difficulties and successes they encountered throughout their career and shares their chart history, discography and other surprises along the way. Throughout the book, family members also share their memories of the Pointer family history including Bonnie, who passed in June 2020. The book earned positive reviews upon release.