James Burke, pictured right, of the R&B group The Five Stairsteps, died Friday, Feb. 19. He was 70.
His death was confirmed to the Rolling Stone on Tuesday by his brother Dennis Burke, who said the cause of death was pneumonia, according to Variety.com.
The group was comprised of five of Betty and Clarence Burke Sr.‘s six children. (L-R): sister Alohe Jean, and brothers Clarence Jr., James, Dennis, and Kenneth “Keni” Burke.
The R&B group once regarded as “the First Family of Soul” served as inspirations for sibling R&B groups such as The Jackson 5, The Sylvers and the Brighter Side of Darkness.
The Five Stairsteps’s hits included “Ooh Child”, “World of Fantasy,” and “Don’t Change Your Love.
“Ooh Child” was their only single to crack the Top 40 chart in 1970.
The song was ranked at No. 402 by Rolling Stone magazine on its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time List.
“Ooh Child” was covered by Nina Simone, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Kelly Rowland, the Spinners, and more.
Clarence Burke Jr., lead singer and guitarist for The Five Stairsteps, died in 2013 at his home in Marietta, Ga. He was 64.
The youngest brother, Cubie, who briefly joined the group at age 3, died in 2014 at age 49.
Clarence Burke, Sr., died on July 16, 2020, the day before his 91st birthday, in an Atlanta area hospital.
The surviving siblings: Alohe Jean, 73, Dennis, 69, and Keni, 67, all live in the Atlanta area.