Grammy Award-Winning Artist Dies at 74 – Had First Hit Single in 1973

Singer Anita Pointer, whose voice thrilled millions as part of the Pointer Sisters, died Saturday surrounded by her family members.

The cause of death was cancer, her publicist Roger Neal said, according to Reuters. She was 74.

The Pointer Sisters — Anita, June and Bonnie — debuted in 1973 with “The Pointer Sisters” album that yielded the single “Yes We Can Can.” That was the group’s first hit.

Other major hits included “I’m So Excited,” “He’s So Shy,” and “Fire.”

Several surviving family members released a statement, according to Variety.

“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,” said the statement from her sister, Ruth, brothers Aaron and Fritz, and her granddaughter Roxie McKain Pointer.

“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. Please respect our privacy during this period of grief and loss. Heaven is a more loving beautiful place with Anita there.”

Variety cited a 1969 interview in which Pointer said she had never planned to make music her career.

“I was planning on continuing to being a secretary in a law office, like I was doing, when I heard Bonnie and June singing in the Northern California State Youth Choir, performing ‘Oh Happy Day,’ with Edwin Hawkins and Dorothy Morrison, and I just loved it. So I quit my job and said that I had to do this too,” she said.

The trio became a quartet when their sister Ruth joined the group in 1970, but then returned to being a trio again when Bonnie left the group.

The Pointer Sisters had their first No. 1 R&B chart hit in 1975 with “How Long (Betcha Got a Chick on the Side).”

In 1978, their version of the Bruce Springsteen song “Fire” reached No. 2 on the pop music charts. Several other songs made the Top 20 until the group’s late hit “Dare Me” in 1985.

In 1974, after the release of their country single “Fairytale,” the Pointer Sisters became the first black female group to make an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, according to People magazine.

The song later won a 1975 Grammy Award for best country performance by a duo or group.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.