Clarence Burke Jr. , lead singer of sibling R&B group The Five Stairsteps , died Sunday. According to his manager, Joe Marno , Burke was surrounded by family members when he passed away, just one day after his 64th birthday. No cause of death has been announced.
The Five Stairsteps are best known for the one and only top-10 hit, "O-o-h Child," which peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. In addition to Clarence, the group originally featured his sister Alohe ( Rami ) and his brothers James , Dennis and Kenneth ( Keni ); later, another brother, Cubie , joined the lineup.
The Five Stairsteps had their greatest overall success on the R&B charts, scoring more than a dozen top-40 hits, including their 1966 debut single, "You Waited Too Long," which Clarence wrote and sang when he was just 16 years old. Besides singing, Clarence also played guitar, choreographed the band's stage moves and produced some their music.
After The Five Stairsteps broke up in the late '70s, Burke and his brothers formed a group called The Invisible Man's Band . The short-lived outfit had a #9 R&B hit in 1980 with the dance track "All Night Thing." In later years, Burke continued to record and perform.
In addition to his musical endeavors, Clarence pursued various other artistic interests, including carpentry and painting. He is survived by his parents and siblings; his wife, Crystal ; five children; and a host of grandchildren.
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