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Elvis:Drugs,Religion,JD Sumner...This should be FUN!

Mon Jun 16, 2003 4:26 pm

Hey all, I pose this topic...not sure if its ever been discussed so pardon if it has. Elvis, during the late 1960's and most all of the 1970's was "suposedly" doing drugs..."strung out" were the words Elvis used. And, I am NOT saying he wasn't doing drugs. However, he also was a very spiritual person, we know he loved Gospel music and given his upbringing, some might say he was a Christian.
Now, take into account that JD Sumner was around Elvis for alot of this time period, but mostly the 70's. Given what we all know of JD's background in Gospel music and therefore Christianity, should one suppose that JD would have known if Elvis was "strung out" and wouldn't he try to intervene or at least get Elvis some professional help. Granted, JD was not one of the Memphis Mafia so he wasn't around Elvis all the time but he was close to Elvis and he would have seen stuff going on, even if it was how Elvis was acting on stage.
JD was one of the most loved Gospel musicians of this century and I would tend to think that he tried to live an upright life. So if Elvis was doing all these drugs and the scene was sooo bad wouldn't JD have felt a certain moral, Christian duty to do SOMETHING? What are your guys and gals thoughts?

Mon Jun 16, 2003 5:18 pm

Firstly, if anyone did have the courage to confront Elvis about his drug-taking, Elvis would have explained away the problem by citing the fact that good doctors had prescribed his medicine, etc. Also, I believe J.D., like everyone else, was sort of afraid of talking to Elvis in this manner out of fear of losing favor (or employment) with him. And as for J.D. himself, I really think he was a neat guy, but he was the first person to admit that he used to be "a real rascal" back in those days--his words. So he might not have really been in a position to tell Elvis that what he was doing was wrong...I think there was a ring of truth in some of the things Elvis would say to J.D. to crack him up while he was singing Why Me, Lord.

Tue Jun 17, 2003 3:55 am

don't forget it's well known that J.D. drank more than his fair share of Scotch in his touring time with Elvis!

Tue Jun 17, 2003 6:58 am

I've never had much good to say about JD Sumner. As said above, he was a big drinker and also a big woman chaser.
He may have sung a lot of Christian and Gospel songs, but he had a struggle with the devil, big time. Not that we don't have our own struggles.
I've just never seen much in him that was very Christian-like. His clothes, his jewelry, his hair, his pencil-thin moustache. The guy really creeped me like most Evangelists do.

jeff R

Tue Jun 17, 2003 7:04 am

I know what you mean, Jeff. I guess my respect for him is there mostly because he used to be so admired by Elvis, if not so much in their later years.

Tue Jun 17, 2003 7:10 am

I should point out that I got to see him at Elvis The Concert in my hometown in March of '98 (this was the first show of the first tour, the second show after Memphis '97), just months before he died, and that was a real thrill. The Stamps singing Sweet, Sweet Spirit after having been introduced by "video-Elvis" with J.D.'s still amazing bass was a very cool moment! They got an incredible ovation, and rightfully so. I was so glad to have had the opportunity to see him.

Tue Jun 17, 2003 7:17 am

many,MANY Concerts you can hear Elvis poke fun at J.D. running down the hallway in hotels chasing after girls.Elvis was just making fun-but had a ring of truth to it.Anyhow I Think J.D. was pretty much allright really.

JD

Tue Jun 17, 2003 8:55 am

Jeff R:

"I've never had much good to say about JD Sumner. As said above, he was a big drinker and also a big woman chaser. I've just never seen much in him that was very Christian-like."

You don't happen to have a brother namned Saddam Hussein? Just wondering. You remind me so much of him, see.

Keith Richards, Jr.

Tue Jun 17, 2003 9:32 am

Bizarre and wrongheaded juxtaposition, dude.

The original post really does lose any validity when the truth of Sumner's drinking and sexual proclivities is presented. And these things are true. Is it no surprise, then, that we've never read a word about J.D. trying to "help" Elvis?

Perhaps Jeff was a bit harsh, but most intelligent and fair-minded Americans are fed up with hypocritical Christian types.

God bless!

Tue Jun 17, 2003 6:00 pm

"The original post really does lose any validity when the truth of Sumner's drinking and sexual proclivities is presented. And these things are true. Is it no surprise, then, that we've never read a word about J.D. trying to "help" Elvis?

Perhaps Jeff was a bit harsh, but most intelligent and fair-minded Americans are fed up with hypocritical Christian types."

Well, since I am "fair-minded" and "intelligent", BUT not one of those "hypocritical Christian types", I won't make any assumptions to the validity of the thread... :wink: I guess I just never really realized the good ole' JD was so much of a drunkard and womanizer in his time with E. Forgive me for not being in the know. :( I only posted the thread because of what I perceived of JD in the later years of his life with the Bill Gaither Vocal Band touring shows and the things that have been presented about him on Christian based tv programs. I guess he cleaned up his act considerably since the 70's. Christianity is masked in many stereotypes, some deserved, some not so. So at this point, I guess there is no need for anyone to really respond to the thread anymore, my question got answered it seems. Peace.

Tue Jun 17, 2003 9:02 pm

I've always wondered why JD was so adamant during the 1978 Elvis tribute show, "God strike me dead if I lie to you. I have no reason to. Elvis Presley did not use drugs."

Was he covering for Elvis, like so many others? Or, did he really not know the extent of Elvis's problem?

Eagle

His Truth Is Marching On...

My opinion

Tue Jun 17, 2003 11:11 pm

I believe JD Sumner was a Christian - I have no reason to believe otherwise. Studying mr. Sumners "gospel history" from the old days with the Blackwood Brothers to his last days as a part of the "Gaither Homecoming Series", proves that he sure was a Christian (just listen to his "testimony song" - "The Lord still lives in this old house", where he tells of the things he's done wrong, but because of God's grace, He still lives in him. At the end of the song, he says, "thank you, Jesus")
As for the time with Elvis, maybe he did have a "rebellous decade" and did some things he shouldn't have...guess we all do at times.
But, I think that JD (and the rest of Elvis' staff, like backup singers, band, etc - not the Elvis mafia) didn't know that Elvis used the prescripted pills like drugs. You know, back in the 70s they didn't know as much about the dangerous sides of drugs like we do now. And Elvis took prescripted pills, not psycadelic drugs, heroine, cocaine, etc. They were all signed for by Dr. Nick. So, they would easily believe that these were pills that he "needed". Given to him by a ph.D.
So, even though we in retrospect might wonder why they didn't do more to stop Elvis' drug abuse, I think they might be excused in some ways.
But, as for JD Sumner - a great guy!!

Bjorn

Tue Jun 17, 2003 11:20 pm

I may have been a bit harsh with my posting but it still doesn't take away the fact that JD does bother me.
Some of you people who idolize people just because they were friends with Elvis is just plain strange. Elvis was a human being as were his friends.
Keith Richards Jr. .....your comment was very immature and stupid. Because I don't "adore" these frineds of Elvis makes me a relative to Saddam? What a strange comment indeed!

jeff R

Wed Jun 18, 2003 1:52 am

BobbyTCB wrote:I should point out that I got to see him at Elvis The Concert in my hometown in March of '98 (this was the first show of the first tour, the second show after Memphis '97), just months before he died, and that was a real thrill. The Stamps singing Sweet, Sweet Spirit after having been introduced by "video-Elvis" with J.D.'s still amazing bass was a very cool moment! They got an incredible ovation, and rightfully so. I was so glad to have had the opportunity to see him.


JD was on the first newspaper ads (some time before christmas 1998, I think) when I ordered my ticket for the show in february 1999. But unfortunately I missed hearing him sing.