June Pointer, a member of singing group the Pointer Sisters, died yesterday (April 11) of cancer. The 52-year-old singer was the youngest member of the Grammy-winning group, which also featured sisters Ruth, Anita and Bonnie. The Pointer Sisters are best known for a string of 1970s and ’80s R&B/pop hits that included “He’s So Shy,” “Slow Hand,” “Fire,” “Automatic” and “Jump (For My Love).”
According to a statement released by the family, June had been hospitalized since late February at Santa Monica University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center. The type of cancer she was suffering from was not revealed.
The Pointer Sisters grew up in Oakland, Calif., singing in the church where their parents served as ministers. Forming a quartet in the early ’70s, the sisters sang backup for such artists as Taj Mahal, Boz Scaggs and Elvin Bishop. Attracting attention with a unique style that encompassed R&B, jazz, country and pop, the group claimed its first crossover hit with 1973’s “Yes We Can Can.” Two years later, the ladies claimed a No. 1 R&B chart-topper with “How Long (Betcha Got a Chick on the Side).”
The Pointer Sisters won their first Grammy in 1974 for best country vocal performance by a group for the song “Fairytale.” That was followed by two Grammys in 1984 for “Jump (For My Love)” and “Automatic.” Both songs appeared on the group’s 1984 album “Break Out,” which also included “Neutron Dance” from the Eddie Murphy movie “Beverly Hills Cop.”
Bonnie left the group in 1977. After recording two solo albums, June also exited the group. Anita and Ruth still perform as the Pointer Sisters, which now includes Ruth’s daughter Issa Pointer.
June was ordered into a rehabilitation facility two years ago after pleading guilty to cocaine possession. Funeral arrangements are still pending.