John Daniel "J. D." Sumner (November 19, 1924 - November 16, 1998) was an American gospel singer, songwriter, and music promoter noted for his extremely deep bass voice, his group J. D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet and his associations with Elvis Presley.


Sumner sang in Southern gospel groups including The Sunny South Quartet 1945-1949 (Tampa,Fl WFLA Studios) the Sunshine Boys (1949 - 1954), the Blackwood Brothers Quartet (1954 - 1965), J. D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet (1965 - 1980; 1988 - 1998), and the Masters V (1981 - 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 by the following vocalists: Dan Britton (1984), Tim Storms (2002), and Roger Menees (2011).

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 the funeral of Elvis' mother, Gladys, in 1958.

After the Stamps Quartet disbanded in 1980, Sumner with Hovie Lister, Jake Hess, Rosie Rozell, and James Blackwood formed the Masters V as a special consolidation of members of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet and Statesmen Quartet. The group was 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.

After the Masters V disbanded 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. The Stamps Quartet is currently led by Ed Enoch, a member since 1969.

Sumner was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1997.

Lowest note

The lowest recorded note that J. D. Sumner ever hit was a G0, two notes below the lowest key on the piano. He hit the note at the end of a 26-second slide at an Elvis concert in 1977, demonstrating not only his exceptional range, but his mastery of breath control.


Sumner wrote more than 700 songs including the following:

A Land Where Milk And Honey Flows,

A Million Years From Now,

Aloha Time,

Because Of Him*,

Behind Your Tears,

Beyond God's Horizon,

Crossing Chilly Jordan,

Each Step I Take,

Eternal Paradise,

Everybody Ought To Love,

For I've Got The Lord,

Give Me The Strength To Stand,

God Made A Way,

He Means All The World To Me,

He Will See You Through,

Heaven For Me,

He's All That I Need,

His Love,

I Believe In The Old Time Way,

I Can Feel The Touch Of His Hand,

I Do Dear Jesus I Believe,

I Don't Mind,

I Found God,

I Know It's So,

I Serve A Living God,

I Wanna Rest,

I Want To Meet You Up In Heaven,

I Wouldn't Trade,

I'll Follow Where He Leads,

I'm Happy And Free,

In That Land,

Inside The Gate,

I've Got To Walk That Lonesome Road,

Jesus Is Mine,

Keep Me,


Mammy's Boy,

My All I Give,


Old Man Death,

On That Happy Golden Shore,

On The Other Side Of Jordan,

One Day,

Only One Touch,

Paradise Valley,

Pay As You Go,

Rolling Along,

Some Wonderful Day,

Someday Soon,

Something Old Something New,

Sweet Peace,

Thank God For Calvary,

The Old Country Church,

The Touch Of His Hand,

The Victory Road,

There Is A Light,

Walking And Talking With My Lord,

Walking In The Light,

Wayfaring Stranger,

What A Glorious Morning That Will Be,

What A Morning,

When I'm Alone,

When The Clouds Roll By,

Wonderful Love,

Wonderful Savior,

Selected discography

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The Blackwood Brothers

See Blackwood Brothers discography,

The Masters V

See Masters V discography,

J.D. Sumner & The Stamps

20 Gospel Favorites 1996,

Great Gospel Performances,

Master of the Wind 1996,

Peace in the Valley 1996,

The Final Sessions 1999,

Hall Of Fame 1999,

See also

Tim Storms,

Mike Holcomb,

George Younce