Musician and native West Virginian John Ellison will perform and share his inspirational story at West Virginia University at Parkersburg Monday, Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the College Activities Center. The event is free and open to the public. He will also visit the college’s Jackson County Center earlier in the day.
Ellison was born in Montgomery, W.Va. and grew up in a small, poverty-stricken coal mining village near Welch before moving to Rochester, N.Y. at age 18. He sang soul and styled hair before hooking up with four brothers named Armstrong (Sam, Charles, Harry and Moses) and bassist Vonell Benjamin and forming The Soul Brothers Six.
In 1967, Ellison wrote the smash hit “Some Kind of Wonderful,” putting the group on the map. The song has since been recorded by 62 different artists, making it one of the most recorded songs in music history. In June 2012, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) presented Ellison with a Million-Air certificate, recognizing more than four million performances of “Some Kind of Wonderful.”
Remaining true to his music, Ellison continues to record original songs and has released three solo albums, including “Welcome Back” (1993), “Missing You” (2000) and “Back) (2008). He continues to play live at music festivals. In addition, he shares his passion for delicious Southern style food through his Some Kind of Wonderful Food Company.
Ellison enjoys sharing his story and road to success. In a 2011 WV South magazine article, Ellison said, “There will always be someone who wants to put you down, tell you that you can’t do the thing you want to do. I want people to be inspired by my story to work hard and follow their dreams.”
This event is sponsored by the WVU Parkersburg Social Justice Committee in observance of Black History Month.