O-o-h Child

Album: The Stairsteps (1970)
Charted: 8
Play Video


  • The Five Stairsteps were formed in Chicago in 1965 and comprised of Burke family members Clarence Jr., James, Aloha, Kenneth and Dennis. They got their name when "Momma Stairsteps" (as Betty Burke was affectionately called) noticed that her kids looked like stair steps when stood next to each other according to age. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tom - Green Bay, WI
  • This song of comfort and hope was written by Soul songwriter/producer Stan Vincent, who also worked with The Soul Generation and The Legionnaires.
  • Other artists to record this include Richie Havens, Daryl Hall and The Edwin Hawkins Singers.
  • Verizon used this in a commercial television advertisement campaign. In 2007, the song was also used in a commercial for the ADHD Road Map to Success Kit. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA and Bertrand - Paris, France
  • This features in a scene in Boyz and the Hood when Laurence Fishburne's character is riding in his car with his son. When "O-o-h Child" comes up on the radio, he declares, "Man, I love this song!" and starts singing along to it.
  • A cover by Dino peaked at #27 on the Hot 100 in 1993. It was the fifth and last single to reach the Top 40 for the pop-dance singer.
  • A new audience discovered this song when it was featured in the 2014 film Guardians Of The Galaxy and included on the soundtrack, which went to #1 in America. Hits from the '70s play throughout the film, which stars Chris Pratt as a human who listens to them on his Walkman.

    Director James Gunn played the songs during the shoot, so the cast had to hear them every time they did a scene where one was used. Pratt grew weary of "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)," but he said that "O-o-h Child" was the one that moved him the most.
  • TV series that have used this song include:
    Cold Case ("Superstar" - 2006)
    How I Met Your Mother ("The Platinum Rule" - 2007)
    Scandal ("The Testimony of Diego Muñoz" - 2015)

    Movies include:
    Crooklyn (1994)
    Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)
  • Paul Stanley of Kiss is a big fan of this song and covered it with his group Soul Station in 2021. "'O-o-h Child' is a such a song of hope and a song of optimism," he said in a Songfacts interview. "It was street poetry: the idea of having faith that one day things would be better and we'll 'walk in the rays of a beautiful sun.' It has an eloquent quality that didn't need embellishing."

Comments: 21

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyJames Burke, a founding member of the Five Stairsteps, passed away at the age of 70 from pneumonia on February 19th, 2021...
    Between 1966 and 1980 the Chicago family quintet had sixteen records on the Top 100 chart, one made the Top 10, "O-o-h Child", it peaked at #8 for two weeks on July 12th, 1970...
    Sadly, James was the last surviving founding member of the Five Stairsteps...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Sam Williams from Sherman OaksI randomly ran into Stan Vincent’s son today. He told me the song was written about him from his dad. His name is Chuck. He told me many of the songs’s lyrics come straight from what his dad used to tell him when he was a kid. The child in question in this song was really him. He lives in my area. Glad our paths crossed with each other. It was sort of like divine intervention for me because I remember hearing that song when I was a kid listening to Oldies Radio and I was and still am a HUGE fan of it. It’s strange and almost coincidental I ran into the person who the song was written for. Funny how life works. Sometimes things just fall into your lap whether you manifest them into your life or not. Everything really does happen for a reason. That’s for sure.
  • One Special Friend from EarthA special person in my Life loved this song, now deceased, but everytime I hear it I SMILE. Never be another 1 like that Human.
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenNice moment on a 2nd season episode of Mike & Molly when Holly Robinson Peete sings this song to her son over the phone.
  • Rich from BrooklynThis song was written about a father missing his child that he had been denied access too.
  • Calvin from Cleveland, Ohio O-o Child was written by Clarence Burke Jr and his family. Not written by Stan Vincent. To witness Calvin Drake, Stolen by Stan Vincent.
  • Karen from Manchester, NhIn the fall of 2011, on the show "Dancing With the Stars", actor David Arquette chose this song for the "personal story" night, as a message to his young daughter, because their family was going through a tumultuous time. It was a beautiful dance and a lovely sentiment.
  • Marlene from Montreal, QcIt also appeared in Spike Lee's "Crooklyn".
  • Kayla from Carmel, InLove this song...has a funny way of turning up on the radio whenever I am worried about something.
  • Arend Jan from Groningen, NetherlandsThe version Nina Simone did, is among my all time favorites, I highly recommend it.
  • Xyzee from Boston, MaOhMiGawd! I was soooo young when I first heard this song, and I would, inevitably, well up and cry because I was never quite convinced that "..things are gonna get easier.."
    *sighs* I must have known something then cuz I sure as heck am living through it now, and "things" aren't "easier"...
  • Carol from Clayton, CaLyrically, an uplifting song with a message that things will get better. Lead singer on this song has a really beautiful voice which compliments the overall song.
  • Amber from San Francisco, CaThis song reminds me of the movie "Boyz In The Hood". There's a scene when Lawrence Fishburn's character is riding in the car with his young son and this song comes on the radio and he sings along with it. This is one of my favorite scenes in that movie. Great song, too!
  • Michaela from Brooklyn, NyThis song reminds me of sunshinny days,lovely friends,and good things.Whenever I hear this song I think to myself,If only this was completelly true!
  • Mixermatt from Bloomington, MnBeing a DJ. I play a lot of music on my Radio show. As I as reading all the news on this song, you can't for get about Valerie Carter who did a cover on this song
  • Camille from Toronto, OhYeah, an amazingly simple and uplifting song. Always puts me in a good mood when I hear it.
  • Josh from Magnolia, ArOoh Child is just a really fun, catchy tune that never gets old.
  • Steve from Salt Lake City, UtThe Reggae cover is a nice tribute but the 5 Stairsteps version is the Bees Knees!
    Thanks kids,for one of the "Things are gonna be a lot brighter" tunes of downer 1970!
  • Flo from Toulouse, FranceNice reggae cover done by Junior Tucker.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnBefore The Five Stairsteps hit it big withh Ooh Child, they also recorded some R & B hits for the Windy C label, including You Waited Too Long.
  • Jack from Soperton, GaOne of my favorite soul hits of the 70's...right up there with "Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time".
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Judas Priest

Judas PriestSongwriter Interviews

Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton talk twin guitar harmonies and explain how they create songs in Judas Priest.

Carol Kaye

Carol KayeSongwriter Interviews

A top session musician, Carol played on hundreds of hits by The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and many others.

Victoria Williams

Victoria WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

Despite appearances on Carson, Leno and a Pennebaker film, Williams remains a hidden treasure.

Peter Lord

Peter LordSongwriter Interviews

You may not recognize his name, but you will certainly recognize Peter Lord's songs. He wrote the bevy of hits from Paula Abdul's second album, Spellbound.

Holly Knight ("The Best," "Love Is A Battlefield")

Holly Knight ("The Best," "Love Is A Battlefield")Songwriter Interviews

Holly Knight talks about some of the hit songs she wrote, including "The Warrior," "Never" and "The Best," and explains some songwriting philosophy, including how to think of a bridge.

Justin Timberlake

Justin TimberlakeFact or Fiction

Was Justin the first to be Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher? Did Britney really blame him for her meltdown? Did his bandmates think he was gay?