Clarence Burke Jr. of family band The Five Stairsteps, the group behind the timeless hit "O-o-h Child," passed away just one day after turning 64.


The Five Stairsteps was the original first family of soul (before The Jackson 5).  The group of four brothers and a sister formed in Chicago in the mid 60's. Their mother, Betty Burke, came up with the name the Five Stairsteps after noticing that when the siblings stood next to one another in order of age, they resembled a staircase.  They learned how to play instruments from their father, Clarence Sr., who was a policeman.


Besides being the lead singer and playing guitar, Clarence Jr. was also the group’s choreographer and wrote a number of its songs.  At 16 he was the co-author of the group’s first hit, “You Waited Too Long.”  Though the family had several chart topers, their 1970 single "O-o-h Child" was the biggest of their careers.  The song was sampled countless times over the years, but in 1993 hit received hit status once again when 2 Pac covered it for "Keep Ya Head Up".  Here's a look back at the siblings live on Soul Train.


Eventually the group broke up, however Clarence and his some of his brothers later came together to form The Invisible Man's Band. The group left their mark on the '80s with the catchy dance track "All Night Thing."  From their Clarence Burke Jr. went on to enjoy a solo career, where he toured and performed right up to his death.

His death was confirmed by his friend and manager, Joe Marno, however no cause was given.  Our deepest condolences to the Burke family.