Farewell to Joni of Sister Sledge

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Tragic to hear that Joni Sledge, leading light of the group famous for what many call “the defining dance anthem”, has died at her home in Phoenix, Arizona.

For many across Scotland the news will inevitably rekindle fond memories of the late 70’s, when Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” turned the group from “popular” to “stellar” virtually overnight.

But of course that was just a main highlight in a success story which at that time was only beginning.

Less well known is the fact that Joni and her sisters Debbie, Kim and Kathy spent eight years battling to gain attention in a notoriously cut-throat and fickle business before finally clinching super-stardom.

“He’s the Greatest Dancer” became a top 10 hit in 1979, Sister Sledge’s golden year, but “We are Family” - which for many became an anthem for female empowerment - sold more than a million copies.

“Lost in Music” and “Thinking of You” were among other iconic hits.

The group, less Kathy who pursued a solo career, continued to perform for many years – and were a smash in Glasgow in December last year.

On Wednesday the group had tweeted to its international fan base: “A happy #InternationalWomensDay to all our #sisters around the world! Today are ALL #family” – then on Friday the terrible news of Joni’s death plunged them into grief.

Joni, (60), was reportedly found in her home by a friend on Friday, and the cause of death hasn’t yet been established.