This is a small page dedicated to the great singer/entertainer Jimmy Ellis, also known as Orion.
Jimmy Ellis was born in 1945 in Orrville, Alabama. He begun his recording career with the label Dradco in 1964. In 1972 he recorded for Shelby Singleton his version of Elvis first single: That's All Right and Blue Moon of Kentucky. It was released on Sun Records without an artist credit. After recording for some other companies, Ellis signed with Shelby Singleton at Sun in November of 1978.
He gained national recognition anonymously in early 1979 with his first Sun release, Save The Last Dance For Me, which featured his voice over-dubbed onto a Jerry Lee Lewis cut. The duet, credited to "Jerry Lee Lewis and friend", stayed on Billboard's Top 20 charts for weeks and became the subject of wild speculation from DJ's, and club owners, and fans alike about the identy of the mystery partner. The single was followed by the album, and Sun Records was accused of releasing old recordings of Jerry Lee teamed with Elvis. The TV show "Good Morning America" actually did a 'scientific voice scan' of the unidentified voice and concluded it belonged to Elvis.
Later Sun Records released a single, Ebony Eyes, and then an album. The cover of this LP 'Reborn', pictured a ghostly singer wearing a Lone Ranger-type mask rising from a coffin. This time the singer also had a name, it was 'Orion Eckley Darnell'. Sun launched a massive promotional campaign on Orion and in 1981 Orion has been rated one of the three most promesing male country artists by 'Cashbox', released four albums and drew large, enthusiastic crowds at his concerts.
After two years Ellis got tired of pretending to be somebody else. When his Sun contract came to a close in 1983, before a capacity crowd at the Eastern States Exposition, he stripped of his mask and vowed never to hide behind it again. Well it didn't worked out that way. In 1987 he became Orion again, with mask and all.
Very unfortunately, Jimmy Ellis along with his wife, was killed in December the 12th 1998 by a male robber. The world lost a great singer.
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