Singer Roderick “Pooh” Clark, an original member of the ’90s hit R&B group Hi-Five, has died of complications from a longtime infection as well as pneumonia after being paralyzed for 30 years due to a car crash. He was 49.
He passed away in Waco, Texas, on April 17, fellow Hi-Five member Marcus Sanders told TMZ. Hi-Five musicians included Clark, Sanders, Tony Thompson, Russell Neal, and Toriano Easley. Clark and his quintet of R&B singers formed in 1989 and were signed to Jive Records that same year.
Clark was best known for the 1991 song “I Like The Way (The Kissing Game).” The song was a No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100. Other hit tunes included “I Just Can’t Handle It,” and “I Can’t Wait Another Minute” from the eponymous debut album, which came out in 1990. Produced by Teddy Riley, the album went platinum.
Their next album, “Keep It Goin’ On,” was released in 1992. While it did not have the same success as the debut album, the song “She’s Playing Hard To Get” landed on Billboard’s No. 5 on the Pop chart and No. 2 on the R&B chart. The R. Kelly-penned “Quality Time” from the album did well also.
The group was involved in a car accident in 1992 that left Clark paralyzed from the neck down, the Daily Mail reported.
In 1993, the group released a new album, “Faithful,” that featured the hit song “Unconditional Love.” The song was on the “Menace II Society” film soundtrack.
In 2005, another album, “The Return,” was released.
The group’s history is full of triumphs and tragedy. On June 1, 2007, Thompson’s body was discovered near an air-conditioning unit outside an apartment complex in his native Waco, Texas. It was later reported that he died from “toxic effects of chlorodifluoromethane,” or inhaling a toxic amount of freon. On July 2, 2014, Neal was charged with murder over the fatal stabbing of his wife in Houston.
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Those close to Clark have posted social media tributes to the late singer, including the band’s musical director Martinez Little, who wrote, “We had some amazing phone conversations in the past and some great visits when I came thru Waco! I’ll cherish them forever.”
“Pooh was the most athletic of them all,” Little wrote in a Facebook tribute. “In basketball, he could stand right under the basket and jump straight up and dunk the ball. Our play fights and Super Soaker battles were epic. We also used to battle each other hard on the Bball court in most cities. I still miss the fun times touring with my little brothers as Musical Director. My condolences to Hi5 and his family. R.I.P. Pooh.”
Photo: Pooh Clark, Facebook