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Song Stories

“O-o-h Child”

The Five Stairsteps | 1970

A family act from Chicago’s South Side who were signed to Curtis Mayfield’s Windy C label, the Burkes started as four brothers and a sister ranging in age from 13 through 17 and helped inspire the formation of another Midwestern family group — the Jackson 5. Soaring on inspirational tones and the promise of a brighter day under the sun, “O-o-h Child” would be the Five Stairsteps' only Top 10 hit. Al Kooper has called it “one of [his] favorite singles.” More than 20 years after its original recording, “Ooh Child” was used memorably in Spike Lee’s film Crooklyn as well as in John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood. Tupac’s “Keep Ya Head Up” incorporated the melody into its mix.

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Song Stories

“Love Is the Answer”

Utopia | 1977

The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

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