J.D Sumner And The Stamps Quartet

J.D Sumner, Ed Enoch, Ed Hill and Rick Strickland make up the amazing J.D Sumner And The Stamps Quartet.

The lowest vocal bass note ever recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records came from J.D. Sumner.

It's only one of a long list of great moments in the life of the late musical legend. For much of his career he headed up the Stamps Quartet, one of the greatest success stories in the gospel music industry.

The group was nominated for Grammy, Dove and TNN awards, and they toured the world in concert. Sumner was credited with being a major force in the formation of the Gospel Music Association, the Dove Awards and the National Quartet Convention, and for being a significant influence in leading the gospel world to even greater levels of professionalism and organization. His direction and management of the Stamps was, and continues to be, a model for many other groups.

The Stamps worked with Elvis Presley from 1971 to 1977 as the male back-up group for his concerts in Las Vegas and on national tour, and they worked with him on numerous recordings. (The Imperials backed Elvis from 1969 to 1971, and the Jordanaires were Elvis' male back-up group in the 50's and 60's.) The most recent configuration of The Stamps was comprised of: J.D. Sumner (bass), Ed Enoch (lead), both of whom worked with Elvis from 1971 to 1977, and Ed Hill (baritone), who worked with Elvis in the latter two years of that period, and Rick Strickland (tenor) who joined in the early 1990s and is a lifelong Elvis fan. In the Elvis tour days, other members at various times included Bill Baize, Donnie Sumner, Larry Strickland, Dave Rowland, current record industry executive Tony Brown, and current Oak Ridge Boys member Richard Sterban.

Sumner's relationship with Elvis long pre-dated the Stamps' employment with him. Elvis, as a teenager with sideburns and loud clothes, frequently attended the monthly gospel sings at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis.

Elvis became a regular fixture backstage, meeting and talking with the singers he admired so much. One of those singers was J.D. Sumner, then part of the Blackwood Brothers. Sumner and the others came to expect to see Elvis whenever they were in town. One night, the kid wasn't there, so when they played Memphis again, Sumner asked Elvis why he hadn't been there. Elvis confided that he simply had not had the money for a ticket.

From then on, Sumner got Elvis in free through the stage door.

Said Sumner, 'The next thing I knew, Elvis was letting me in free through his stage door!'.

With great success J.D. Sumner & the Stamps continued to make recordings and television appearances, and they constantly toured in concert, performing gospel music as only they could. They also continued to have very strong ties to the Elvis phenomenon through their friendship with Graceland/EPE and their loyal following of Elvis fans. The Stamps, including former members, are 1998 inductees into Gospel Music Association's Hall of Fame. J.D. Sumner & The Stamps participated in the March 1998 tour of Elvis : The Concert in America. The next booking for J.D. and his group for our show was January/February 1999, our first European tour. Sadly, J.D. died in November 1998, but the remaining Stamps fulfilled the tour engagement.

Ed Enoch, Ed Hill and Rick Strickland then formed a new group known as Ed Enoch & The Golden Covenant. Strickland has since left that group. Enoch and Hill, along with new members Butch Owens and Royce Taylor, tour with our show from time to time. In 2003, Ed Enoch acquired the trademark rights to the name Stamps Quartet and renamed his group accordingly. Alternating with The Stamps Quartet on our tours are former members of The Imperials and Voice, two male vocal groups that backed Elvis. Former Stamps members from the Elvis days other than Enoch and Hill also participate from time to time.

Elvis Presley with J.D. Sumner and The Stamps Quartet
Elvis Presley with J.D. Sumner and The Stamps Quartet.

Elvis Presley and J.D. Sumner 1976
Elvis Presley and J.D. Sumner 1976 : From the book Elvis The Concert Years.

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