Joni Sledge R.I.P.
Growing up with “We Are Family”, “He’s The Greatest Dancer”, “Got To Love Somebody”, “Lost In Music” and dancing to those tracks in various clubs around Cologne, the music of Sister Sledge has played an important part in our lives. My favorite track is “Thinking Of You” from their 1979 “We Are Family” LP, produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers. And “Reach Your Peak” from the 1980 LP “Love Somebody Today” was a track that I was spinning regularly in those good old DJ days.
Joni died unexpectedly in her home in Phoenix. She was 60 years old. As lead singer for the group which started out to record back in 1971 and released their first album “Circle Of Love” in 1975 (with many tracks written or co-written by Gwen Guthrie), Kathy Sledge originally left the group in 1989 to pursue a solo career and had occasionally rejoined the group for special performances and releases since. Her only solo album, “Heart”, released in 1992, was critically acclaimed and had top producers and writers of the day, like Preston Glass, Sami McKinney, Barry Eastmond, Donald Robinson, LeMel Humes, and Taylor & Ferrar.
After a second album, “Together” in 1977 (recorded in Germany), their career took of with “We Are Family” and “Love Somebody Today”. More hits came off the albums “All American Girls” (1981), “The Sisters” (1982), “Bet Cha Say That To All The Girls” (1983), and “When The Boys Meet The Girls” (1985) with their hit “Frankie”, which was especially popular throughout Europe. Joni also wrote and produced some of the songs on their 1997 album “African Eyes” (which was totally overlooked) and performed with her sisters (except Kathy) for Pope Francis in Philadelphia in 2015.