CUBIE BURKE – youngest member of 60s/70s soul group THE STAIRSTEPS – died on Wednesday 14th May. He was 49 and it’s believed that his death was as a result of a brain injury he’d suffered some years ago.
The Stairsteps (sometimes billed as the 5 Stairsteps and Cubie) were made up of various members of Chicago’s Burke family and music legend has it that Cubie debuted with the band when he was just 16 months old! The Stairsteps recorded for Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom label and Buddha and their biggest hit was the much loved and oft-covered ‘Ooh Child’. Cubie occasionally sang with the group but it was his dancing that brought the applause and he eventually left the group to become a professional dancer, working with Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Atlanta Ballet, Alvin Ailey, various Las Vegas theatrical shows and at the Olympic closing ceremonies in Barcelona and Los Angeles. He was also the choreographer for the 1997 Soul Train Music Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles 1997.
Cubie also attempted a solo recording career debuting in 1982 with the release of the single ‘Down for Double’ on the Rissa Chrissa label. A full album was never recorded, because of the breakup of the record company. Cubie then returned his energy back to dance. He also wrote numerous songs – most never recorded.
As an actor Cubie Burke appeared in the TV series ‘Unsolved Mysteries: Season 9’ and in 1997 he founded a production company called QBiquity Productions.
Cubie Burke is survived by his daughter Decoda Kareem, granddaughter Aaliyah Kareem, his mother Betty Burke, father Clarence Burke, siblings Rami (Alohe Burke), James Burke, Dennis Burke and Keni Burke.