Thursday, May 30, 2013

R.I.P.: Clarence Burke Jr. Five Stairsteps Lead

Clarence Burke Jr.
Clarence Burke, Jr., the original lead singer of the Five Stairsteps, has died according to a number of reliable sites; however, no reason for his death has been announced.

He was 62, according to VVN Music.

The original Five Stairsteps were made up of five of the children of Betty and Clarence Burke, Sr., Clarence, Jr., James, Dennis, Kenneth and daughter Alohe.  They started in 1958 with their father as their manager and playing bass in their band and played around their hometown of Chicago until winning a talent contest at the Regal Theater.

Record companies came forward with the winner being Curtis Mayfield and his Windy City label. Mayfield took the group under his wing and produced all of their original recordings, the first four of which made the national R&B top twenty (You Waited Too Long (1966 / #16 R&B / #94 Pop), World of Fantasy (1966 / #12 R&B / #49 Pop), Comeback (1966 / #15 R&B / #61 Pop) and Danger! She's a Stranger (1967 / #16 R&B / #89 Pop).

When Windy City moved to Buddah Records, Clarence, Jr. took over the production and the family's young brother, Cubie, was added, making the group.

In the spring of 1970, the group released their biggest hit O-o-h Child, which only made it to number 8 on the Pop chart and 14 on R&B but has gone on to become one of the most loved R&B singles from the 70's.

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