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RIP Bonnie Pointer !!!

Written by on June 17, 2020

Story by Chuck Tackett

RIP Bonnie Pointer !!!

If you are a Baby Boomer, you may recall the TV show “The Midnight Special.” During that particular time, there were only 3 television networks to watch: ABC, NBC, and CBS. Television at the time ended airing the programs at midnight.

  Producer Burt Sugarman met with NBC executives, discussing with them that they needed to capitalize on the fact that there was a large television audience still up from watching the “Tonight Show” with then-host Johnny Carson.

At first, NBC rejected his proposal. Sugarman then bought air-time convincing the company “Chevrolet” to become a sponsor of the then-experimental show to be aired on Friday nights after the “Tonight Show.” The ratings were high enough for Sugarman’s concept, that NBC reconsidered their decision on “The Midnight Special.” The weekly late Friday night show became a part of NBC’s regular weekly programming in 1972, and ended in 1981.

The Pointer Sisters, created by Bonnie Pointer, was one of the acts featured before they made it big. When I think of Bonnie Pointer and her sisters, I always chuckled. In their early days, The Pointer Sisters dressed like the 1940s girl group, The Andrew Sisters, and would sing songs in the style, reminiscent of that era.

One night, as I was watching an early episode of “The Midnight Special,” The Pointer Sisters were performing. My father was passing by and stopped. He asked me if they were drag queens. During that time, I was 16 years old. I turned to him and asked, “What is a drag queen?” I had never heard of that term. He replied it was men who dressed up as women, and just walked away before I questioned him further.

I was an innocent young thing at the time, or paraphrasing actor, Divine, as Edna Turnblad in the 1988 movie Hairspray, I was a clean teen.

From time to time, I would only hear the names Charley Pride or Darius Rucker when it came to Black people singing country. I never hear mentioned The Pointer Sisters for their Grammy award-winning 1975 hit, “Fairytale,” nor Bonnie Pointer, who wrote the song, along with her sister, Anita. The song was such a success, that in that same year, Elvis Presley did his version of it.

Before Bonnie and her sisters made it really big, they did backup vocals for Grace Slick, Slyvester, Boz Skaggs, and blues guitarist, Elvin Bishop.

In 1978, Bonnie left the group to pursue a solo career. Her solo attempt didn’t quite solidify as she wanted it to. She had success with her disco hit, “Heaven Must Have Sent You,” a remake of The Elgin’s 1966 R&B hit. That was her claim to fame with her solo career. The Pointer Sisters had a string of hits in the 1980s with Bonnie joining them off and on during that particular time. 

Down through the years, Bonnie continued to be a popular club and casino live performer.

Bonnie Pointer died of cardiac arrest on June 8, 2020.

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