Clarence Burke Jr., the lead singer of the Five Stairsteps, a sibling rhythm-and-blues group that had its best-known hit in 1970 with “O-o-h Child,” died on Sunday in Marietta, Ga. He had turned 64 the day before. The Five Stairsteps — four brothers and a sister — formed in Chicago in the mid-1960s, having learned to play instruments and sing from their father, Clarence Sr., a police officer, and their mother, Betty. They were once called “the first family of soul,” a moniker later adopted by the Jackson 5.

It was Betty Burke who came up with the name the Five Stairsteps after noticing that when the siblings stood next to one another in order of age, they resembled a staircase. Besides being the lead singer, Mr. Burke was the group’s choreographer and guitar player and wrote a number of its songs. At 16 he was the co-author of the group’s first hit, “You Waited Too Long,” which reached No. 16 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1966.(read more)