John Ellison

R&B Soul Brother Six

Born: Aug. 11, 1941 Montgomery, AL

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

In 1967, a self-contained group called the Soul Brothers Six emerged on the music scene out of Rochester, New York. Members of the group included Charles Armstrong, Harry Armstrong, Vonnell Benjamin, Lester Pelemon, Joe Johnson, and a young man named John Ellison from Landgraff, a small, poverty-stricken coalmining village in West Virginia.

With John as the lead guitarist, singer and songwriter for the group, the Soul Brothers Six signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records and recorded a song entitled "She's Some Kind of Wonderful", with lyrics and vocals by John Ellison.
"She's Some Kind of Wonderful" reached the top 100 in Billboard magazine; and in 1987, a book called "Sweet Soul Music" was published, discussing the Soul Brothers Six as a major influence on the sound of modern music.
Not only has the trademark bass line in "She's Some Kind of Wonderful" been utilized by countless other artists for a variety of different songs, but the song has also earned the Soul Brothers Six a spot in music history. More than 50 different artists have recorded "She's Some Kind of Wonderful," making it one of the most recorded songs in the history of music. In 1995, John Ellison received a citation of achievement from Broadcast Music for writing the third-most played song in the world.
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john ellisonJohn ELLISON is a singer, songwriter and performer. He is a charismatic soul singer and high energy performer with a career than spans over four decades. He has the ability to captivate an audience where ever his performs, he leaves his audience mezmarized. As a songwriter he wrote and recorded the classic song « She’s Some Kind Of Wonderful ». To date the song has been recorded by fifty five different artist making it one of the most recorded songs in the history of music. To date it has sold forty two million copies world wide. The most recent version is by Joss Stone. In 1995 he received a citation of achievement from BMI for writing the third most played song in the world. In « Sweet Soul Music », Peter Guralnick comments that « Soul Music is a message from the heart, and through the story of Soul Music, as I finally came to see it, runs a spiritual thread that links The Soul Brothers Six with Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, William Bell and Sam Cooke ».
John Ellison was a lead singer of The Soul Brother Six, as well as being their primary songwriter and lyricist. Ellison returns to the recording industry with the After Hours release, «Welcome Back ». The album is comprised of new original material that re-affirms John’s songwriting prowess, with every track standing proudly beside the re-recording of his long-time hit « Some Kind Of Wonderful ». With a recording career spanning well over a quarter of a century, John Ellison is not an overnight sensation. John’s start in the music industry began with the Rochester, New York soul group, The Soul Brothers Six. In 1965 group membership included John along with Lester Pelliman (congas/vocals), Benny Vonell Benjamin (bass), and the Armstrong brothers, Sam (drums), Mo (guitar), and Charles (vocals). An interesting quality of the group was that they played their own instrumments, where other groups, like the Temptations were a standup group with a backup band. They were self contained, unlike virtually every other soul group of the era.
The Soul Brothers Six first recorded for Walter Rayfield’s Philadelphia-based Lyndell Label on the strength of a song written by John entitled, « Some Kind Of Wonderful. » As John recalls, « I had a girlfriend and when I got ready to leave, I told her, « you know, you’re somekind of wonderful. » And I said, I’m going to write a song about you ». So in the car between Rochester, NY and Philadelphia, I wrote « Some Kind Of Wonderful. » Additionally, during a band practice at Rayfield’s Philadephia home, local DJ Ernie Fields stopped by and first heard the song. Suitable impressed, he took them into the studio to cut « Some kind Of Wonderful. » This eventually landed the Soul Brother Six a recording deal with Atlantic Records. Following the signing of the contract in 67, the group returned to Rochester without any significant movement in their career. John remembers, « In May, one night about three o’clock in the morning, I was sitting in my living room listening to the radio. All of a sudden I heard his song coming on. I thought, boy, that sounds like the Soul Brother Six. It was the record. And we didn’t even know it was out. We called Ernie Fields the next morning who said, « Yeah, the record’s breaking. It’s really going good. »
The song peaked at number two on the Billboard R&B chart. Following this, the group toured extensively sharing the bill with The Miracles, The Impressions, Jackie Wilson, Martha and The Vandellas, The O’Jays, and The Supremes. Despite cutting some fine singles for Atlantic, a successful follow up proved elusive for the Soul Brothers, the group disbanded in 1969. Then John ELLISON recorded briefly for Phi La Of Soul Records in Philadelphia, which led to a successful tour of Canada where audiences were hungry for his brand of sophisticated soul. Canadian bookings were so plentiful that he decided to move there. Shortly after moving to Canada he set out for Europe where he performed on television with ABBA while touring inYugoslavia and Austria. In 1977 while touring England, ELLISON recorded a cover of CAT STEVENS « Wild World » with a British label ; but, due to lack of creative input, and the fact that he wasn’t permitted to record his own material, he left the label and returned to Canada where he has been concentrating on writing and producing. Ichiban Records of Atlanta released his solo album titled « Welcome Back » in 1992. The album received significant radio airplay and critical acclaim, returning ELLISON to the public eye. He has become popular on the European Festival circuit. In 2000 he recorded « Missing You » and he is in march 2007 currently on studio for the recording of his new C.D for Select-0-Hits.

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