Formed in 1971, the group consisted of sisters Debbie, Joni, Kim, and Kathy Sledge. The siblings achieved international success at the height of the disco era. In 1979, they released their breakthrough album We Are Family, which peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and included the 1979 US top-10 singles "He's the Greatest Dancer" and "We Are Family". A third single, "Lost in Music", reached the US top 40. "We Are Family" earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
They released their first single "Time Will Tell" in 1971 on local music label Money Back. In 1973, they released the single "Mama Never Told Me", which became a top-20 hit in the UK in 1975, but with the Patrick Grant and Gwen Guthrie single "Love Don’t Go Through No Changes On Me" (released in 1974), the siblings enjoyed their first success. The song was a big hit in Japan, and as a result, the girls were flown to the country to perform at the Tokyo Music Festival, where they won the Silver Prize. The sisters also performed at the Zaire 74 concert in Africa alongside James Brown during the Rumble in the Jungle boxing event.
Sister Sledge’s first album, Circle of Love, was released by ATCO (a subsidiary of Atlantic Records) in 1975, and included songs written by Gwen Guthrie and Gwen's then-boyfriend, studio bassist Patrick Grant, who later changed his name to Haras Fyre. The group enjoyed some success in Europe, and as a result, the album Together was recorded in Germany in 1977. Released through the Cotillion label, another Atlantic subsidiary, the album produced a minor hit with the single "Blockbuster Boy" reaching number 61 on the US R&B chart.
Joni Sledge, born September 13, 1956, died of natural causes at her home in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday, March 10, 2017. She was 60 years old. Following Joni's death, Debbie and Kim announced that they will continue to perform as Sister Sledge.