LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clarence Burke Jr., lead singer of the group the Five Stairsteps that sang the 1970 hit “O-o-h Child,” has died. He was 64.
Burke died on Sunday — a day after his birthday — in Marietta, Ga., where he lived, said Joe Marno, his friend and manager.
The cause of his death was not disclosed.
Formed in Chicago in 1965, the Five Stairsteps included Burke, three of his brothers and a sister. They owed their name to their mother, who said that they looked like stairsteps when they stood beside each other in order of age, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Burke, the eldest brother, was the group’s producer and choreographer, played guitar and wrote many of the songs. He wrote the group’s first single, “You Waited Too Long.” He was not yet 17 when it rose to No. 6 on Billboard’s R&B charts in 1966.
Other hits included “World of Fantasy,” ”Don’t Change Your Love” and “From Us to You.”
However, the group’s biggest hit was 1970’s “O-o-h Child,” written by Stan Vincent. Its signature refrain croons “o-o-h child” and promises that “things are gonna get easier.”
The song has been covered many times and has repeatedly been used in movies and TV shows.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked it No. 402 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
The group disbanded in the late 1970s but the brothers briefly reformed as the Invisible Man’s Band and had a 1980 success with the dance single “All Night Thing.”
In recent years, Burke performed solo concerts and continued to record with family and friends, according to a family memorial.
(Photo: Clarence Burke Jr. of the Five Stairsteps is shown seated, center.)
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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24. Diggy Simmons
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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