Southern gospel legend J D Sumner dies aged 73

ONE OF the father figures of Southern Gospel, JD Sumner died on November 16th 1998. 73-year-old Sumner was found dead of a heart attack in his hotel room in Myrtle Beach, SC. Sumner and his quartet, the Stamps, had been performing at a theatre in Myrtle Beach.

Sumner was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall Of Fame as an individual in 1983 and was I also inducted as a member of JD Sumner & The Stamps early last year. He was a songwriter with more than 500 compositions to his credit. A native of Lakeland, Fla, John Daniel Sumner began his career with the Sunny South Quartet. He later spent time performing with the Sunshine Boys and the hugely popular Blackwood Brothers before he became the leader of the Stamps in 1963.

The Stamps sprang to international acclaim when they performed and recorded with Elvis Presley between 1972 and 1977. Recognised in the Guinness Book Of Records as the "World's Lowest Bass Singer", Sumner was also a shrewd businessman. He helped form the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and was co-founder of the National Quartet Convention. CR

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