Some Kind of Wonderful

Album: All The Girls In The World Beware (1975)
Charted: 3
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  • "Some Kind of Wonderful" was originally recorded in 1967 by an R&B group called the Soul Brothers Six. Grand Funk drummer Don Brewer got the idea to record it. "We all grew up in Flint, Michigan," he said in a Songfacts interview. "We used to listen to a station called WAMM, which was a black station in Flint. We all grew up on R&B, gospel and soul music, and they used to play the Soul Brothers Six version of that song all the time on WAMM radio in the '60s. When we were traveling around the country, I used to start singing that song in the back of the car a cappella, and everybody would just kind of jump in and sing along with me - 'I don't need a whole lots of money, I don't need a big fine car.' We'd kind of shear off on the choruses and stuff, and our manager said, 'That's a great song, why don't you record it,' so we recorded the song and it became a huge hit."
  • In this song, the guy is dirt poor, but he couldn't be happier, thanks to his sweet lovin' woman who knows how to treat him right.

    The song was written by Soul Brothers Six frontman John Ellison, who went backstage at a 2018 Grand Funk concert, where he told the story of the song. The idea came to him at 4 a.m. when he was holding his girl in his arms. "We were broke, and I thought, 'I don't need a whole lot of money,'" Ellison said.

    He fleshed out the song and brought it to the band, which had been playing gigs in and around their hometown of Rochester, New York and had released some singles on the local label Fine Records. According to Ellison, a local radio DJ heard them rehearsing the song and helped get the recording to Atlantic Records, which signed the band. Released as their first single on the label, it stalled at #91. The group's only other chart entry was "What Can You Do When You Ain't Got Nobody," which topped out at #107.

    The Grand Funk cover of "Some Kind of Wonderful" provided a nice income for Ellison. His relationship with the woman who inspired the song didn't last; when he told the story in 2018, his wife asked if he remembered that girl. He wisely replied that he didn't, and reminded her that the song paid for their house.
  • The line, "Can I get a witness" has two sources: Christian revivals and a Marvin Gaye song ("Can I Get A Witness").
  • Don Brewer and Grand Funk guitarist Mark Farner shared vocals on this track.
  • This was one of many successful cover songs by Grand Funk. The year before, they had a #1 hit with "The Loco-Motion," which was originally recorded in 1962.
  • Huey Lewis & The News took the song to #44 US with their 1994 cover. This version, titled "(She's) Some Kind Of Wonderful," is the only one to chart in the UK, where it reached #84.

    Other artists to record it include Joss Stone and Edwin McCain. Buddy Guy released a version with Paul Rodgers on his 1993 album Feels Like Rain.

Comments: 10

  • Tim from ChicagoIs it just me, or does it sound like someone is gradually tweaking the varispeed up on this song? Especially going into the second verse.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 16th, 1975, "Some Kind of Wonderful" by Grand Funk peaked at #3 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on December 8th, 1973 at position #67 and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 5 of those 13 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    It reached #6 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart...
    Was track five of side two on the group ninth studio album, 'All the Girls in the World Beware!!!'...
    One other track from the album also made the Top 100; "Bad Time" reached #4 (for 2 weeks) on June 1st, 1975...
    The group's two other Top 10 records both peaked at #1; "We're An American Band" for 1 week in 1972 and "The Loco-Motion" for 2 weeks in 1974.
  • Darren from Loves Park, IlMark Farner later became a born-again Christian and recorded a solo album (also titled "Some Kind of Wonderful") in which he covered this song, changing the lyrics to reflect his love for Jesus as opposed to the girl. Instead of "talking about my baby" it became "talking about my Jesus". Instead of "sweet lovin' woman like mine" it became "sweet lovin' Savior like mine". "She's some kind of wonderful" became "He's some kind of wonderful."
  • Joe from Grants Pass, OrAlso heard " Her lovin' LIPS around Me ".
  • Pete from Sydney, AustraliaResulting from listening to this song while reading a review of the movie "Tropic Thunder", a new set of lyrics have arisen concerning that Azaria Chamberlain incident.
  • Wayne from Crockett, TxI've always felt Mark Farner was one of the best 'vocalizers' in the music business, able to sing well enough that the words are always crystal clear and easy to understand. You can definitely see it on this great GFR song.
  • Bill from Downers Grove, IlIn their live shows, Mark Farner would sing "When she wraps her lovin' LEGS around me, 'bout drives me out of my mind".
  • Matthew from East Brunswick, NjGTA San Andreas revived this. This song is too cool to pass up!
  • Rolfe from Thornton, Co"Some Kind Of Wonderful" was written by John Ellison, lead singer of the Soul Brothers Six. This song later also charted for the Fantastic Johnny C (1968), Grand Funk Railroad (1974), and Huey Lewis & the News (1994).
  • Susan from Phoenix, CaIn 2005, this song is being used in a TV commercial for Kraft Mayonnaise touting it's "wide mouthed" jar!
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