Automatic (Pointer Sisters song)

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"Automatic"
Single by The Pointer Sisters
from the album Break Out
B-side Nightline
Released January 1984
Recorded 1983
Genre Post-disco, R&B
Length 4:46
Label Planet
Writer(s) Brock Walsh, Mark Goldenberg
Producer(s) Brock Walsh, Richard Perry
The Pointer Sisters singles chronology
"I Need You"
(1983)
"Automatic"
(1983)
"Jump (for My Love)"
(1984)

"Automatic" is a song by the Pointer Sisters, released on the Planet label in January 1984 as the second single from their multi-platinum landmark album Break Out. "Automatic" reached the Top 5 of Billboard's pop chart and became one of the Pointers' signature tunes. Eventually, three other singles from Break Out reached the Top 10 consecutively.

The Pointer Sisters version[edit]

According to Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters, "Automatic" was a late addition to the Break Out album: "We’d almost finished [the] album and were looking for another tune. We were sitting in a little tiny office on a break and, being the snoops that we are, decided to snoop around this person's office because we knew that he was the one who was hoarding all the material. We heard this song" - the demo for "Automatic" had been recorded by its composers Brock Walsh and Mark Goldenberg - "and went: 'Whoa, this is a really cool song!'" [1] "We took it to [producer Richard Perry] and said 'Why is this not one of the songs we're recording?' He replied 'Well, it sounds like a guy should be doing it. Who is going to sing that part?' Of course, my sisters looked at me immediately and said 'She can do that!'." [2]

Although Break Out largely comprised dance tracks, its lead single was the ballad "I Need You" chosen by producer Richard Perry in hopes of reinforcing the Pointer Sisters presence at R&B radio: the dance track "Jump (for My Love)" was intended as the second single but the heavy airplay afforded "Automatic" as an album cut by both dance clubs and radio stations caused the substitution of "Automatic" for "Jump..." as the second single release from Break Out, although "Jump..." would become the most successful US single off Break Out when it became the album's third single.[3] The first Top 40 hit to feature Ruth Pointer's distinctive contralto on lead, "Automatic" reached #5 on the Hot 100 in Billboard in April 1984, also charting on the magazine's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Dance Club Play rankings, its #2 R&B chart peak making "Automatic" the highest charting R&B hit by the Pointer Sisters as a trio (in their original four-woman format the Pointer Sisters did score an R&B #1 hit with "How Long (Betcha' Got a Chick on the Side)").

In the British Isles "Automatic" would afford the Pointer Sisters their alltime biggest hit spending two weeks at #2 on the UK chart in May 1984 when it also reached #1 in Ireland. "Automatic" also afforded the Pointer Sisters Top Ten success in Belgium (#5 on the Flemish chart), the Netherlands (#9), and New Zealand (#8): in Australia "Automatic" reached a chart peak of #15.

The B-side of "Automatic" was "Nightline" featuring June Pointer on lead: "Nightline was also originally feature on Break Out but was dropped from later pressings of the album to allow for the inclusion of the remix of "I'm So Excited".

Credits and personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
position
Ireland (IRMA) 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[4] 9
New Zealand (RIANZ)[4] 8
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[5] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 5
US Black Singles (Billboard)[6] 2
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard) 2

Ultra Naté cover[edit]

"Automatic"
Single by Ultra Naté
from the album Grime, Silk, & Thunder
Released July 30, 2007
Genre Electronica
Length 4:58
Label Tommy Boy Entertainment
Writer(s) Brock Walsh, Mark Goldenberg
Ultra Naté singles chronology
"Love's the Only Drug"
(2006)
"Automatic"
(2007)
"Give It All You Got"
(2007)
Music video
"Automatic" on YouTube

Ultra Naté covered "Automatic" and released it as the third single from her album Grime, Silk, & Thunder. Her version topped the US dance chart, hitting number one in the issue dated April 28, 2007.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Automatic" was directed by Karl Giant.[7] Eric Henderson from Slant Magazine commented of the music video's beginning: "For the first two or three minutes, it's nothing if not a stalwart representation of your standard gay-bar video-jukebox fixture." Ultra Naté is later shown wearing a rhinestone-studded liquid Lycra while two men, apparently nude, watch her on their computers.[8] Then Naté appears in a blow-up doll costume,[7] which Henderson believed "sends the entire video into legitimately weird territory, as though David Meyers were asked to direct a video for Nine Inch Nails."[8]

Track listing[edit]

  • Belgian CD maxi-single[9]
  1. "Automatic" (Original Radio Mix) – 3:13
  2. "Automatic" (Morgan Page vs. Peace Bisquit Radio Mix) – 3:03
  3. "Automatic" (Original Extended) – 6:12
  4. "Automatic" (Daz & Diddy Mix) – 7:17
  • US CD maxi-single[10]
  1. "Automatic" (Original Extended) – 6:16
  2. "Automatic" (Digital Dog Mix) – 6:31
  3. "Automatic" (Paul Jackson Version Excursion Mix) – 6:19
  4. "Automatic" (Spen & Thommy Sugar Vocal Mix) – 8:42
  5. "Automatic" (Daz & Diddy Mix) – 7:18
  6. "Automatic" (Funky Junction & NK Club Mix) – 6:29
  7. "Automatic" (Funky Junction & Splashfunk Mix) – 6:53
  8. "Automatic" (Monkey Brothers Ultra Bad Remix) – 8:40
  9. "Automatic" (Dave Pezza Electro Dub Mix) – 9:30
  10. "Automatic" (Shawn Q's Soltribe Vocal Mix) – 8:47
  11. "Automatic" (Morgan Page vs. Peace Bisquit Radio Mix) – 3:04

Charts[edit]

Chart (2007) Peak
Position
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[11] 5
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[11] 86
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[11] 5
US Hot Dance Airplay (Billboard) 18
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[12] 1

Cover versions and adaptations[edit]

  • Occasionally around 1990, the instrumental parts of the song were used as prize music, notably for jukeboxes and stereos, on the US version of The Price Is Right.
  • In 1991, the song was featured in the film Ricochet, and can be heard at the beginning after the basketball game.
  • In 2006, Belgian singer Afi covered "Automatic".[13] Her version became a minor hit in Belgium, where it reached top twenty on the Flanders Ultratip chart.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Still So Excited: an interview with Ruth Pointer". PopMatters.com. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Soul Deep with natural-born singer Ruth Pointer". NewsPaperpost.com. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Billboard vol 96 No. 46 (17 November 1984) p. 78
  4. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl - Pointer Sisters - Automatic". Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  5. ^ "Chart Stats - The Pointer Sisters - Automatic". Chart Stats. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  6. ^ a b "Automatic - The Pointer Sisters". Billboard. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  7. ^ a b Slompwicz, DJ Ron (2007-05-25). "Ultra Naté - Grime, Silk & Thunder Interview". About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ a b Henderson, Eric (2007-05-07). "Ultra Naté: Grime Silk Thunder". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  9. ^ "Ultra Naté – Automatic (CD) at Discogs". Discogs. Zinc Media, Inc. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  10. ^ "Ultra Naté – Automatic (CD) at Discogs". Discogs. Zinc Media, Inc. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  11. ^ a b c "Spanishcharts.com – Ultra Naté – Automatic". Canciones Top 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  12. ^ "Club Music, Hot Dance Songs, Club Songs, Dance Club Music Charts". Billboard. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 1 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  13. ^ "Afi (4) - Automatic (CD) at Discogs". Discogs. Zinc Media, Inc. Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  14. ^ "Ultratop.be - Afi (BE) - Automatic". Ultratip (in Dutch). ULTRATOP & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  15. ^ Maura (2009-01-27). "Hot Leg Decide To Cool Down With Some Assless Chaps". Idolator. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"The Reflex" by Duran Duran
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
(The Pointer Sisters version)

May 26, 1984
Succeeded by
"The Reflex" by Duran Duran
Preceded by
"Rise" by Samantha James
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
(Ultra Naté version)

April 28, 2007
Succeeded by
"With Love" by Hilary Duff