John Daniel "J. D." Sumner (November 19, 1924 - November 16, 1998) was an American gospel singer, songwriter and music promoter noted for his extreme deep bass voice and use of vocal fry. Sumner sang in Southern Gospel Music groups, including the Sunshine Boys from 1949 to 1954, The Blackwood Brothers Quartet from 1954 to 1965, the Stamps Quartet from 1965-1980 and 1988-1998, and the Masters V from 1981 to 1988.
For eighteen years, Sumner held the Guiness World Record for recording the lowest bass note. As of 2011, he has been surpassed only three times: in 1984 by Mike Holcomb, in 2002 by Tim Storms, and in 2011 by Roger Menees. In 1964, Sumner founded the Gospel Music Association with James Blackwood. He was also the founding force behind The National Quartet Convention.
Sumner was most noted as leader of the Stamps Quartet which became known as J.D. Sumner & The Stamps. Elvis Presley, while a teenager, idolized Sumner's singing after seeing him perform with the Sunshine Boys. Presley hired Sumner & The Stamps as his back-up singers in 1971. The group toured and recorded with Presley from November 1971 until Presley's death in 1977. He not only sang at Elvis' funeral, but had previously sung at Elvis' mother's funeral back in the late 1950s.
After disbanding the Stamps Quartet in 1980, Sumner with Hovie Lister, Jake Hess, Rosie Rozell, and James Blackwood formed the Masters V. The group was formed as a special consolidation of members of The Blackwood Brothers Quartet and The Statesmen Quartet. The group a showcase for Sumner's voice and compositions, and won the 1981 Grammy Award for best traditional gospel performance. Sumner was credited not only for his singing, songwriting, and concert promotions, but was also noted for being the first to customize a coach bus for the entertainment business to use for music groups.
Following the disbanding of Masters V in 1988, Sumner reformed the Stamps Quartet and performed with the group until his death in 1998. He was often seen in his latter years appearing as a guest artist on the Bill Gaither Homecoming videos.
J.D. Sumner wrote more than 700 songs which were recorded by a myriad of artists.
Sumner was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1997.
J. D. Sumner. (2011, August 27). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:43, August 30, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=J._D._Sumner&oldid=446933681