James Burke of Five Stairsteps, Band Behind Hit Song 'O-o-h Child,' Dead at 70

James Burke died of pneumonia on Friday, his brother and bandmate said

1Five Stairsteps
Five Stairsteps. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Five Stairsteps singer James Burke has died. He was 70.

James died of pneumonia on Friday, his brother and bandmate Dennis confirmed to Rolling Stone Tuesday. Reps for Burke and the Five Stairsteps could not immediately be reached by PEOPLE.

The family soul group included James, his brothers Clarence Jr., Dennis and Keni, and sister Alohe. The Chicago natives became known locally as the "First Family of Soul" after the release of their hit song "O-o-h Child" in 1970.

The group was managed by their dad, Clarence Burke Sr., who was a police detective. The band's name reportedly came from their mom Betty, who noted the five siblings resembled a staircase when lined up by age.

the Five Stairsteps
Five Stairsteps. Gilles Petard/Redferns

Between 1966 and 1980, The Five Stairsteps had 19 singles on the R&B and Pop charts, Variety reported, 11 of which cracked the top 20 on the R&B chart.

"O-o-h Child" — which peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 — is by far the band's most popular song. It has been covered by several musicians including Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield, Mary Wilson, Kelly Rowland and more. KISS' Paul Stanley released a rendition of the track last month, and it was featured in Marvel's 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack.

the Five Stairsteps
Five Stairsteps. GAB Archive/Redferns

After the Five Stairsteps broke up in 1976, James and his brothers later reunited as the Invisible Man's Band, whose best-known song is 1980's "All Night Thing."

Dennis told Rolling Stone he recalls bonding over music and playing guitar with his late brother, whom he called "very creative."

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