*(Via LATimes) – Clarence Burke Jr., the lead singer of the Five Stairsteps, a sibling R&B group once regarded as “the first family of soul” for a string of hits that included “O-o-h Child,” died Sunday, a day after he turned 64.
His death was confirmed by his manager, Joe Marno. No other details were released.
Formed in 1965 in Chicago, the group originally consisted of four young brothers and a sister who played their own instruments as well as sang. They owed their collective name to their mother, who observed they looked like stair steps when they stood by each other in order of age.
The eldest brother, Burke also played guitar, wrote many of the group’s songs, served as a producer and choreographed their dance routines. He penned their first single, the ballad “You Waited Too Long” that rose to No. 6 on Billboard’s R&B charts in 1966 – when he was almost 17.
Their other hits included “World of Fantasy,” “Don’t Change Your Love,” “From Us to You” and their biggest – “O-o-h Child,” released in 1970.
Read/learn more at LA Times.
Watch the Five Stairsteps’ performance on Soul Train of their classic hit, “Ooh Child”:
Here’s Clarence Burke Jr. in a 2010 performance: