January 1984: The Pointer Sisters Release "Automatic"

The Pointer Sisters in 1983
Photo Credit
Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty Images

When The Pointer Sisters released "Automatic" as the second single off their Break Out album on Jan. 13, 1984, it helped launch the trio into a new stratosphere - and provided a belated spotlight for the eldest Pointer's deepest voice.

Ruth Pointer had been valiantly holding down low harmonies alongside her sisters Anita and Bonnie for over a decade, and the sisters had enjoyed Top 10 hits over the late '70s and early '80s in the Bruce Springsteen-penned "Fire," "He's So Shy" and "Slow Hand."

But "Automatic" represented a turning point. The last track to be added to Break Out mixed cutting edge electronic melodies with dazzling mid-tempo dance rhythms and gave Ruth a chance to show off her alto pipes. "We all sat up straight when we first heard ['Automatic'] and told Richard [Perry, the group's producer] we wanted to include it on the album," Ruth wrote in her memoir. "'Okay,' he said. 'But who would sing the low part?' 'Are you kidding me?' I said, 'I'll do the low part!'"

Audiences loved "Automatic," taking it to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the U.K. charts (their highest-reaching single there). More Top 10 hits from Break Out accumulated throughout the year, including "Jump (for My Love)," a remixed version of "I'm So Excited" (taken from the group's 1982 album So Excited and added on re-pressings of the new LP) and "Neutron Dance" - another Ruth-led tune that took off as one of the hits from the Eddie Murphy blockbuster Beverly Hills Cop.

Artist Name

Read More

State Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Motown Museum are making Marvin Gaye Day a reality.
article column overlay
Getty Images
The story behind a soulful Broadway song.
article column overlay
Shelly Clark of the original trio Honey Cone proudly displays award certificate for the group's induction into The SoulMusic Hall Of Fame in December 2020, by popular vote online at SoulMusic.com...
article column overlay

Facebook Comments