June Pointer, the youngest of the Pointer Sisters — known for the ’70s and ’80s hits “I’m So Excited,” “Fire” and “Slow Hand” –died of cancer April 11 in Los Angeles. She was 52.
She died “in the arms of her sisters, Ruth and Anita and her brothers, Aaron and Fritz, by her side,” the statement said. “Although her sister, Bonnie, was unable to be present, she was with her in spirit.”
The Pointer sisters grew up singing in the choir of an Oakland church where their parents were ministers. Bonnie and June formed a singing duo and began performing in clubs around the San Francisco Bay area. Anita and Ruth later joined the group, which sang backup for artists such as Taj Mahal, Boz Scaggs and Elvin Bishop.
Their self-titled debut album was released in 1973, and the song “Yes We Can Can” became their first hit. They followed up with “That’s A Plenty,” which featured an eclectic mix of musical styles ranging from jazz to country and pop. They won a Grammy Award in 1974 for best country vocal performance by a group for the song “Fairytale.”
Bonnie Pointer left the group in 1977 for a solo career.
The Pointer Sisters recorded several more albums, including 1984’s “Break Out,” which won two Grammys for “Automatic” and “Jump (for My Love).” The album’s other hit song, “Neutron Dance,” was prominently featured in the movie “Beverly Hills Cop.”
June recorded two solo albums, and later left the trio.
Anita and Ruth still perform under the group’s name. Ruth’s daughter, Issa Pointer, is the trio’s newest member.