“Fire” was written by Bruce Springsteen who had originally gifted the song to the rockabilly singer Robert Gordon who recorded it with Link Wray on guitar and Springsteen on piano in 1977.
Producer Richard Perry introduced the song to the newly reduced trio of The Pointer Sisters for the album he was producing with them for his newly formed Planet Records by playing them a tape recording of it sung by Bruce himself. With Anita Pointer taking lead vocal duties, it would go one to become their first ever gold single and an international hit single reaching No. 1 in Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa and New Zealand, and charting in Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany and the UK.
It became a career defining track for the group (tying with 1981’s “Slow Hand” as their highest charting single of their career) – it’s a song reminiscent of sixties girl groups a la Ronettes that speaks to the inherent conflict in love/lust when your heart/loins take you somewhere ill-advised: ‘I say I don’t like it / But you know that I’m a lair / Because when we kiss… Fire”.
The Pointer Sisters singing the single eponymous word has been the cause for more than an isolated number of stereo combustions over the years. Eventually the safety hazard lead to the RIAA insisting on re-issues of the record to be covered with an intumescent coating.
These days The Pointer Sisters are still a trio – but only Ruth, the eldest of the sisters, is an ‘original’ member. June, the youngest sister and founding member was ousted from the group in 2004 due to her problems with cocaine addiction; she sadly suffered a stroke in February 2005 and later passed away in April of that year with cancer.
Ruth’s daughter Issa June is now in the group. Anita retired from the group in 2015 due to ill health. Bonnie has rejoined a number of times but most lately Ruth’s granddaughter Sedako Pointer Johnson has been touring with the group in her place. Intriguingly, the identities of Sedako’s parents and/or siblings are kept secret “as she likes to keep her personal life far from the media”.
Producer Richard Perry started in a relationship with an older woman when he was 67 and she was 72. It lasted eight years until they split in 2017. She was Jane Fonda.