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Elvis Rocks On With

J.D. Sumner       

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by June Moore

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Elvis Presley was only 16 when he first heard the powerful voice of J.D. Sumner. So captivated by the deep melodias tones produced by this great man, he would sneak in the back door of the Ellis Auditorium in Memphis. The two men soon formed a bond that would last throughout their lives.

Born John Daniel Sumner in 1925, J.D. grew up in the sunny state of Florida. He began his Southern Gospel singing career in 1943, when he joined a group called the "Sunshine Boys." He began singing with the Blackwood Brothers in 1954 and continued until 1965.

In the mid-'60's J.D. bought the "Stamps Music Company," changing their name.

He and his group, "The Stamps Quartet," began performing with his long-time friend Elvis, in 1970.

On many occasions Elvis would invite J.D, also known as "Big Daddy," or "Jim Dandy," home after a concert to sing Gospel. Elvis would sit at the piano while they harmonized for hours.

J.D.s award winning voice earned him a Grammy, as well as a spot in the prestigious GMA Hall of Fame.

J.D.s famous voice plunging into a double low C, placed him in the Guiness Book of Records as the World's Lowest Bass singer.

Mary, his lovely wife of 51-years, passed away in 1992. J.D. never stopped talking of the love they shared.

J.D. coming in with his famous slide endings combined with the remarkable talents of Elvis Presley made an unforgettable combination of sounds.

The World lost J.D. on November 16, 1998 of a heart attack following a concert in Myrtle Beach. The Funeral services began appropriately with a tape of J.D. singing "The Lord Still Lives in This Old House," to approximately 2,000 mourners.

Pictures of J.D. Sumner were used with the permission of Darwin Lamm, editor of the always fantastic  Elvis International Magazine.

 

Originally published on Suite 101.com January 8, 2000

 

Copyright by Suite 101 and June Moore