May 30, 2013

By Bob Komsic

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Clarence Burke Jr., 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.

The cause was not 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.

The group’s name came from their mother, who observed they looked like stair steps when they stood by one another in order of age.

The eldest brother, Clarence,  played guitar, wrote many of the group’s songs, served as a producer and choreographer.


Rolling Stone magazine placed ”O-o-h Child” at No. 402 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

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