Clarence Burke Jr., lead singer of the sibling R&B group the Five Stairsteps, once regarded as “the first family of soul,” passed away on Sunday (May 26), just one day after turning 64.
The cause of Burke’s death wasn’t released, though the L.A. Times reports the singer died in Marietta, Ga., where he made his home, according to manager Joe Marno.
The Five Stairsteps came together in 1965 in Chicago, made up of four young brothers and a sister who played all their own instruments. Their name was coined by their mother, who noted that, when standing aside in order age, they resembled a flight of stairs.
As eldest brother, Burke wrote many of their songs, as well as producing and choreographing their performances. The group was best known for hit single “O-o-h Child,” released in 1970, which became their only top 10 pop hit.
Burke is survived by parents Clarence Burke Sr. and Betty Burke, wife Crystal, his five children, seven siblings, as well as his grandchildren.