O-o-h Child – The 5 Stairsteps | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: R&B (#14) & Pop (#8); 1970

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

The Burke brothers and sister began singing together while youngsters, coached by father Clarence and mother Betty. Betty named her vocalizing offspring after noticing the step-like quality of their heights. A talent contest – and a win – at the Regal Theater caused their proud Dad to brag about his kids to Fred Cash.

Cash just happened to be a member of Chi-town’s fabulous Impressions, led by Curtis Mayfield. Curtis auditioned the Stairsteps, liked what he heard, and signed them to his new Windy C label.

Windy C’s and the Five Stairsteps’ first release, You Waited Too Long, rose to #16 R&B, and the family was on its way. In 1967, youngest brother Cubie became Stairstep number six. Three years later Stan Vincent took over the production reins from Mayfield, and wrote the group’s biggest pop hit; O-o-h Child.

At first the B-side cover of The Beatles‘ Dear Prudence grabbed airplay before radio DJ’s flipped the 45 over and spun Child into the Top 10.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Stan Vincent

Lyrics Written by:

  • Stan Vincent


  • Won an Artist of the Year Award from the Chicago Board of Education
  •  RIAA White Matte Gold Sales Award: The song received a white matte gold sales award from RIAA for being certified gold (1970)
  • Top 10 Hit: “O-o-h Child” was a U.S. Top 10 hit in 1970
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Clarence Burke, a member of The 5 Stairsteps, received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his music contributions, including “O-o-h Child”.