Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 08/12/2019

The four Pointer sisters grew up in Oakland, California. Their parents were the Reverend and Mrs. Pointer and they taught the girls that rock and roll was the Devil’s music and they should only sing gospel music. While the girls did indeed grow up singing gospel music in church, they also branched out to rock and roll and soul.

Bonnie and June started working on a showbusiness career billing themselves as “Pointers, A Pair” in the late sixties. One of their older sisters (Anita) joined them shortly thereafter and by 1971 the three Pointer Sisters were touring as backup singers for various groups. They were signed to a recording contract with Atlantic Records and released two singles that did not perform well.

The oldest sister (Ruth) finally joined the group as well and they signed a new contract with Blue Thumb Records and recorded their first album. The first single from the album was Yes We Can and it reached #11 on the pop charts and #12 on the R&B charts in 1973. Their follow-up single only made it as far as #61.

In 1974 the sisters recorded their second album, That’s A Plenty. The first single from the album failed to reach the top 100 on either the pop charts or the R&B charts.

The second single from the album was Love In Them There Hills, which also failed to attract much love from radio stations. The B-side of the record was a country-flavored tune that was over five minutes long on their album. As usual for the time, the single version of Fairytale was cut down to a little over three minutes. Somebody got the bright idea of pitching the B-side of the record to Country stations and Fairytale got enough airplay and sales to barely reach the top forty on the Country charts. As a result of the airplay on Country stations, some top forty stations picked up the record as a crossover to pop. New promo records were sent around to top forty stations that had Fairytale on both sides of the single and the record eventually reached #13 in 1974.

The group began performing the song live in their concerts, no doubt surprising their audiences. They even got to play live at the Grand Ole Opry! The record went on to win the 1974 Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.

Perhaps the strangest thing about the record is one of the acts that covered the song and did it as a straight Country tune: Elvis Presley!


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