James Burke, whose shared lead vocals helped make “O-o-h Baby” right into a smash for his group the Five Stairsteps in 1970, has died at age 70.
Phrase of Burke’s loss of life first started to flow into on Saturday and was confirmed to Rolling Stone on Tuesday by brother and bandmate Dennis Burke, who mentioned the reason for loss of life was pneumonia.
The Five Stairsteps are sometimes regarded as a one-hit-wonder band due to the outsize recognition of “O-o-h Baby,” which continues to rack up cowl variations in the present day, together with one which was launched simply final month by KISS member Paul Stanley. However the group had 19 singles that charted on both the R&B or pop charts — often each — between the years of 1966-80. “O-o-h Baby” was their solely music to crack the highest 40 on the Billboard Sizzling 100, peaking at No. 8. However 11 of the Stairsteps’ singles made it into the highest 20 of the R&B chart.
Artists which have coated “O-o-h Baby” embrace Nina Simone, Daryl Corridor & John Oates, Dusty Springfield, Mary WIlson, Kelly Rowland, Kamasi Washington, Trey Anastasio, Richie Havens, the Spinners, Lisa Loeb and the Wondermints, amongst many others. In 2014, the unique model was launched to a brand new technology through its use in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the soundtrack of which turned the No. 1 album within the nation.
“’O-o-h Baby’ is a music of optimism and hope,” KISS’s Stanley mentioned when he launched his cowl in January. “I feel we may all use some phrases about issues getting ‘brighter’ and a time when ‘we’ll stroll within the rays of a wonderful solar.’ … I bear in mind first listening to the Five Stairsteps on the radio and I felt like my issues have been lifted from my shoulders.”
The music was ranked by Rolling Stone at No. 402 on its 500 Best Songs of All Time listing.
The Five Stairsteps have been a household group, and “O-o-h Baby” begins with a plaintive opening verse from the Burkes’ sister Alohe, adopted by contributions from brothers Keni, Dennis and Clarence in addition to James.Fellow artists who championed the Five Stairsteps ranged from Curtis Mayfield, who signed the group to his label within the Nineteen Sixties, to George Harrison, who was taken by some cowl songs that hit near residence (“Expensive Prudence” appeared because the flip facet of “O-o-h Baby,” they usually recorded “My Candy Lord” the next 12 months) and signed them to his Darkish Horse label for a 1976 launch, “2nd Resurrection.”
The group cut up up after that Billy Preston-co-produced album, however a number of of the members, together with James, quickly reunited because the Invisible Man’s Band, which had a minor disco hit with “All Night time Factor,” which peaked at No. 45 on the Billboard 100 in 1980 however once more cracked the R&B prime 10.
The Chicago-based siblings started their profession in Chicago, the place they identified domestically as “the First Household of Soul,” as youngsters, and had their first hit in 1966 with the Mayfield-backed “You Waited Too Lengthy.” The group’s identify was mentioned to have been coined due to how the sister and brothers had incrementally various heights when lined up collectively.