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Who is J.D. Sumner?

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John Daniel Sumner, more commonly known as J.D. Sumner, was an American singer and songwriter. He was notable for his bass voice; he held the Guinness World Record for the lowest bass note for 18 years. Sumner primarily sang in Southern gospel groups, such as the Blackwood Brothers and Stamps Quartet, the latter group later providing backing vocals for Elvis Presley from 1971 to 1977.

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J.D. Sumner was born on Nov. 19, 1924 in Lakeland, Florida. He began his singing career in his local church, eventually reaching his signature voice pitch after adolescence. He first sang professionally when he joined the Sunny South Quartet in 1945, performing with the group for four years. He left the group in 1949 when it relocated to Orlando, electing instead to stay in Tampa. Maintaining a prior sponsorship deal from the Dixie Lily Flour Company, he formed the Dixie Lily Harmoneers and sang with the group for a few months.

Later that year, Sumner moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to join the Sunshine Boys, singing with the group for five years. He was then hired by the Blackwood Brothers Quartet after the tragic loss of the group's baritone and bass singers in 1954. Sumner stayed with the group for 11 years, until striking out once again to form his own group, J.D. Sumner and the Stamps, as manager and singer.

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