Reggae legend Toots Hibbert is canceling his tour after injuries sustained at a concert in Richmond, VA.  (Photo Credit:
Reggae legend Toots Hibbert is canceling his tour after injuries sustained at a concert in Richmond, VA.
(Photo Credit:

This week has been pretty eventful for black music. Common lore suggests that bad things happen in threes. This week, the music world lost two major singers in Marvin Junior of the mighty Dells and Clarence Burke of the Five Stairsteps whose classic “O-o-h Child” has been sampled, covered and included in more movie soundtracks than can be named. Grammy award-winning Reggae artist Toots Hibbert has been forced to cancel his tour due to an injury sustained from a violent concert goer, ending what was a successful concert tour.  As mainstream media focuses on frivolous fare like Kanye West’s album covers, American Idol rejects Mariah Carey and Nikki Minaj (who embarrassed themselves and black music with their petulant behavior on the show), The Burton Wire wants to make sure that these important stories aren’t overlooked. – Nsenga K. Burton

Marvin Junior, singer for the legendary R&B group ‘The Dells’ passed away. In an obituary for the New York Times, William Yardley writes:

“Marvin Junior, whose raw but robust baritone served for half a century as the sturdy foundation for the Dells, a Chicago doo-wop and rhythm-and-blues group that was formed when he and most of its other members were in high school in the early 1950s, died on Wednesday at his home in Harvey, Ill. He was 77. The cause was kidney and heart problems, said his son Marvin Jr. ‘Iron Throat’  is what David Ruffin, the former lead singer of the Temptations, once called Mr. Junior. ‘Two tons of fun’ is what he called himself. He grew up hoping to be the next Ray Charles and eventually inspired other singers, including Teddy Pendergrass.

His voice was huge and versatile — it often reached into tenor territory — and it held up through more than two dozen albums and 57 years of performing. Unlike some other acts of their era, the Dells had no angry breakups and few personnel changes.”

CBS News is reporting that Clarence Burke of the Five Stairsteps passed away just one day following his 64th birthday, according to his friend and manager Joe Marno. The author of the post writes:

“Formed in Chicago in 1965, the Five Stairsteps included Burke, three of his brothers and a sister. They owed their name to their mother, who said that they looked like stairsteps when they stood beside each other in order of age, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Burke, the eldest brother, was the group’s producer and choreographer, played guitar and wrote many of the songs. He wrote the group’s first single, ‘You Waited Too Long.’ He was not yet 17 when it rose to No. 6 on Billboard’s R&B charts in 1966.

Other hits included ‘World of Fantasy,’ ‘Don’t Change Your Love’ and ‘From Us to You.’

However, the group’s biggest hit was 1970’s ‘O-o-h Child,’ written by Stan Vincent. Its signature refrain croons “o-o-h child” and promises that “things are gonna get easier.”

The song has been covered many times and has repeatedly been used in movies and TV shows.

Erin Coulehan of Rolling Stone is reporting that Grammy award-winning reggae artist Toots Hibbert has been forced to cancel the remainder of his tour due to injury sustained during a concert in Richmond, Va. Coulehan writes:

After being hit in the head with a glass bottle at a concertearlier this month, Toots Hibbert has canceled the remainder of his U.S. tour and returned to Jamaica. Billboard reports that the injured Grammy winner made the decision to return home to focus on his recovery.

Frederick “Toots” Hibbert was performing with his band the Maytals on May 18th in Richmond, Virginia, when a 19-year-old man in the crowd threw a glass bottle onstage, striking Hibbert in the head and bringing the set to an early close. The reggae veteran was taken to the hospital for treatment, and the alleged bottle thrower was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and public intoxication.

A spokeswoman for Hibbert, Andrea Davis, said the singer regretted having to cancel the tour, but that he wanted to focus on his recovery.

This post was written/compiled by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire.

Read more about these artists at Rolling Stone.

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