Soul Brothers Six were an R&B/soul/disco band from Rochester, New York that became famous during the late 1960s. They began in 1965 as the Soul Brothers Five, a quintet of brothers Sam, Charles, Moses, Harry, and Gene Armstrong. Shortly after this group's formation, John Ellison came on board, and the name was updated accordingly. By the late 1960s, the lineup consisted of John Ellison, brothers Charles and Henry Armstrong, and newer members Vonn Elle Benjamin, Lester Peleman, and Joe Johnson, with Ellison serving as the group's lead singer, guitarist, and main songwriter.
Soul Brothers Six are best known for the original version of "Some Kind Of Wonderful," one of two completely different songs released in the 1960s with that same title. Although only a minor hit upon its original entry in the Pop/Rock charts in 1967, "Some Kind Of Wonderful" became the group's signature song and, over the years, an extensively-covered R&B/pop standard that later become a Top 5 hit for Grand Funk Railroad in 1974. Soul Brothers Six had one other chart entry in 1968 with "What Can You Do When You Ain't Got Nobody." Other ca. late 1960s songs for which this group is known also include "I'll Be Loving You," "Thank You Baby For Loving Me," and "You Better Check Yourself."
After a number of personnel changes, Soul Brothers Six (later John Ellison & The Soul Brothers Six) finally disbanded in 1976. The group was cited as a major influence by Peter Guralnick in "Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm And Blues And The Southern Dream Of Freedom" (1986), and John Ellison received a citation of achievement from Broadcast Music in 1995 for writing "Some Kind Of Wonderful." Ellison continues to perform actively worldwide and has released three solo albums to date: "Welcome Back" (1993), "Missing You" (2000), and "Back" (2007). In 2009, he was honored with the Arcelor Mittal Dofasco Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2015, he was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. He published his autobiography, "Some Kind Of Wonderful: The John Ellison Story," in 2012.
- John Ellison shares the story behind "(She's) Some Kind Of Wonderful" on alanpaul.net.
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Soul Brothers Six
- Some Kind Of Wonderful 1967
(This song, which was written by John Ellison, later also became a hit for the Fantastic Johnny C (1968), Grand Funk Railroad (1974), and Huey Lewis & the News (1994).)
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