Singer Clarence Burke Jr. Passes Away at Age 64

Clarence Burke, Jr.

Singer Clarence Burke Jr. Passes Away at Age 64

The Five Stairsteps vocalist died just after his birthday.

Published May 30, 2013

Clarence Burke Jr., the voice behind the timeless hit "O-o-h Child," passed away yesterday, just one day after turning 64.

As a member of family band The Five Stairsteps, Burke and the original first family of soul (before The Jackson 5) were responsible for a number of hits over the years including "From Us to You," "Don't Change Your Love" and the song that initially put them on the map, "You Waited Too Long."

The group also worked with legendary music mogul Neil Bogart when he took over Buddah Records in the late '60s.

In 1970, The Five Stairsteps scored the biggest hit of their careers with "O-o-h Child," which sold over one million copies and has since been sampled countless times, including a prominent feature in 2Pac's 1993 hit single "Keep Ya Head Up."

The song was also ranked #402 by Rolling Stone magazine on their list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

Later in that decade, the group broke up, though some of the brothers would later come together to form The Invisible Man's Band. The group left their mark on the '80s with the catchy dance single "All Night Thing."

Clarence Burke Jr. went on to enjoy a career touring as a solo performer and, even in the years leading up to his death, continued to record new music.

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(Photo: Gilles Petard/Redferns)

Written by Jake Rohn


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