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J. D. Sumner
Birth name John Daniel Sumner
Born November 19, 1924(1924-11-19)
Lakeland, Florida
United States
Died November 16, 1998 (aged 73)
Genres Gospel
Years active 1945 (1945) - 1998 (1998)

John Daniel "J. D." Sumner (November 19, 1924 - November 16, 1998) was an American singer and songwriter.

Contents

Biography

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Early years

"J. D." Sumner was born in Lakeland, Florida. Sumner was inspired to become a bass singer at the age of four after hearing Frank Stamps perform. He began developing his talent from that moment.

Sumner served in the United States military during World War II from 1942 until his discharge in 1945. He began to pursue his dream of being a bass singer when he joined the "Sunny South Quartet." He began to make a name for himself after joining the "Sunshine Boys" in 1948.

Sumner/Blackwood partnership

In 1954 James Blackwood asked Sumner to replace Bill Lyles in the The Blackwood Brothers' bass slot when R. W. Blackwood and Lyles lost their lives in a plane crash. After joining the Blackwood Brothers, Sumner's fame began to skyrocket.

Sumner and James Blackwood soon became partners in a number of business ventures that took on a life of their own. In 1956, they formed the National Quartet Convention, an event which continues to be the largest event in gospel music. Sumner dubbed it "the Granddaddy of them all." Sumner and Blackwood also formed the Gospel Music Association, which recognizes achievement annually in all forms of gospel music through the Dove Awards. Sumner and Blackwood adapted the first bus for touring purposes.

In 1963 James Blackwood purchased the Stamps Quartet Music Company from Frank Stamps. The Stamps Quartet was a part of the music company.

Sumner continued to sing with the Blackwood Brothers for a period of time after this. He ultimately decided to leave the group and sing with the Stamps so he could manage them directly. It is during this time JD decided that each singer needed a microphone, thus the beginning of the use of individual microphones. In time they began to be billed as "J. D. Sumner and the Stamps."

Elvis Presley

In November 1971, The Stamps were invited to tour and record with Elvis Presley. The group became a regular fixture with Presley until his untimely death on August 16, 1977. The Stamps were also featured on most of Presley’s studio recordings between 1971 and 1977. The members in 1971 were:

J.D. Sumner - Bass

Richard Sterban - Bass (Sterban left the group the following year to join the country vocal group, 'The Oak Ridge Boys")

Ed Enoch - Baritone

Donnie Sumner (J.D's nephew) - Lead (Donnie left the group in mid/late 1973 due to personal issues)

Bill Baize - Tenor

In the midst of their popularity while performing with Presley, the Stamps released what is probably their most critically acclaimed recording, a double LP titled Live At Murray State. The singers joining J. D. Sumner on that recording were Ed Hill, Ed Enoch, and Bill Baize.

Masters V

Sumner disbanded the Stamps in 1980. He then joined Jake Hess, Hovie Lister, Rosie Rozell, and James Blackwood to form the Masters V. This group toured until 1988. Lister served as the group's emcee while Sumner injected his brand of dry humor into their performances. One of the highlights of Sumner's years with the Masters V was a joint concert in Cape Girardeau, Missouri with an up and coming group known as the Rivertown Boys.

Guinness Book of World Records

In 1983, the Guinness Book Of World Records recognized Sumner's 1966 solo recording of the hymn "Blessed Assurance." According to Guinness, the song contained the lowest recorded note ever produced by a human voice, a "double low" C (C1, 3 octaves below Middle C). The recording was re-issued in 1984 as part of Sumner's solo project Thank God For Kids and again in 1999 posthumously on The Wait Is Over.

Stamps Reborn

After the Masters V disbanded in 1988, J. D. Sumner brought back the Stamps with former member Ed Hill, Jack Toney, and former Masters V tenor and arranger Steve Warren. The Stamps were active participants in the Gaither Homecoming videos. They also enjoyed a great deal of success performing at Elvis Presley tribute events, both nationally and internationally. In addition to Ed Hill, Ed Enoch, Rick Strickland, Jerry Kelso and CJ Almgren were members of the group during Sumner’s final years. In 2003 Ed Enoch became the owner /manager of the Stamps Quartet after receiving the official trademark for the historical Stamps Quartet name. The Stamps Quartet continues to sing and record and travel the world, nationally and internationally. website: www.thestampsquartet.com

Death

J. D. Sumner died in 1998 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He was on tour at the time of his death. In addition to his other accomplishments, he wrote more than 700 songs and has inspired many generations of future southern gospel singers. JD's number one fan is up coming singer and song writer of this era William Hoof. It is said he still tries to sing as low as JD. He has over thirty songs that have been recorded by well known groups.

Personal life

J.D. himself has admitted that during his time with Elvis, he was an alcoholic, it took him many years to fight and overcome his addiction. J.D. was well-known among his many friends as someone who cared deeply about the disenfranchised and the struggling. JD developed a close relationship with his former bus driver and manager Delbert Gray and were friends until the passing of JD. Mark Lowry told the story of a young man whom J.D. worked diligently to have released from prison in time for Christmas, in order that the man could spend Christmas with his family. Lowry asked J.D. why the man had been in prison. "Why does it make any difference?" was J.D.'s reply. JD's daughter Shirley, was married briefly to Ed Enoch and they divorced in 1979.

Discography

1960s - Blackwood Brothers recordings featuring J.D. Sumner:
1970s - Elvis Presley recordings featuring J.D. Sumner & The Stamps:
1970s - J.D. Sumner & The Stamps:
1980s - Masters V:
1980s - J.D. Sumner & The Stamps:
1990s - J.D. Sumner & The Stamps:

  • Golden Memories Of Elvis
  • The Real Facts About Elvis' Death
  • Peace In The Valley - 1993
  • The Final Sessions - 1999
  • Hall Of Fame - 1999

External links


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