The Dells Lead Singer Marvin Junior Passes Away at 77

Marvin Junior

The Dells Lead Singer Marvin Junior Passes Away at 77

Chi-town loses another R&B singer this week.

Published May 30, 2013

It's been a tough week for R&B fans, particularly in Chicago. Just days after the passing of The Five Stairsteps singer Clarence Burke Jr., it has now been confirmed that The Dells front man, Marvin Junior, has died at the age of 77. Both men grew up in or around the Windy City.

Junior had failing kidneys and a weak heart, according to his son Marvin Junior Jr., who also told ABC7 in Chicago that his father died Wednesday (May 29) surrounded by family in his home in Harvey, IL, where the soulful singer grew up.

The Dells (originally the El-Rays) were best known for their 1956 hit "Oh What a Night," which Rolling Stone magazine ranked #260 on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.

In 2004 they were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

The group recorded and performed for almost 60 years before calling it quits in 2009 due to various members' health concerns.

Burke was 64 when he passed away this past Sunday (May 26). He was still just a teenager when The Five Stairsteps, which included three of his brothers and a sister, took the No. 6 spot on the Billboard R&B chart with their first single, "You Waited Too Long." Their biggest hit was the 1970 "O-o-h Child," which also made the Rolling Stone Greatest Songs list at #402. Though they disbanded in the late '70s, Burke continued to perform solo and record with family and friends.

The cause of his death remains undisclosed.


Get ready for the BET Experience, featuring BeyoncéSnoop DoggR. KellyErykah BaduKendrick Lamar and many more. Go here for more details and info on how to buy tickets. is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.  


(Photo: Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

Written by Jake Rohn


Latest in news