Born on the banks of the Kanawha River, John Ellison left his hometown of Montgomery, West Virginia at the age of 17 with all of his clothes packed in a small grocery bag.
Ellison first used his coal mining father's guitar in a school talent show.
From there his love of music grew, as he set off to make it big in New York City.
That's where he met and formed the band, The Soul Brothers Six.
Ellison wrote the 1967 smash hit, "Some Kind of Wonderful."
Tonight at West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Ellison shared his life journey.
Ellison endured many hardships during the civil rights when african american musicians were struggling for acceptance on white mainstream radio.
Ellison's message to everyone is that the only person stopping you from becoming the person you want to be is the person staring back at you.