The Summits

This quarter from Washington D.C. formed while students at Francis Cardoza High Schoolwhere they used sing their sweet style around the school corridors, honing their craft until a faculty member spotted them.

Baritone Willie “Sherman” Flannagan and alto Alvin “Lumberjack” Middleton supported tenors Sanders and Hawkins, with second tenor  Sidney Smith replacing Sanders in 1971.

The Summits founders Andre Sanders and Juan Hawkins spent a lot of time on the 16th Street bus, a route that begins in D.C.’s centre and runs due north for a few miles. Discussions of starting a band during this long commute, which was often taken to visit a pair of uptown girlfriends. The bus displayed the names of the last northbound stop, in this case, Summit Hill. A casual nod to their municipal transport, The Summits seemed a fitting title for the group.

The Group soon fell under the tutelage of Joe Tate, who maintained a stable of musicians, among  them national recording artists The Fuzz, The Choice Four and The Blendells.

The Summits “I can’t get over losing you” would appear o Tate’s Dontee label in 1970, but limited distribution and radio play didn’t give the group much fame or fortune.

The Summits would not get a second recording until Tate’s other recordings and business deals were completed and it wasn’t until Tate paired The Summits with staff songwriterJoe Phillips that thing began to take shape. Phillis would write half a dozen songs for The Summits, four of which were released as singles on Stan Bethel’s D.C. International label. 

While the records generated a respectable local buzz, it never translated into wealth their fellow chart-toppers achieved. They never left their day jobs and with girlfriends and soon growing young families, their tried-and true tour routes became something they made the decision not to continue.

These 2 tracks were part of of the groups recording with D.C. International and did not see the light until Numero release a EP of the group best song. After discussions with Numero Group, Soul-Direction Records secured the only 7’ vinyl release of “P’s and Q’s” and the instrumental version.

We hope you enjoy them as much as we have bringing them to you.

Band Members:
Andre Sanders
Juan Hawkins
Willie “Sherman” Flannagan
Alvin “Lumberjack” Middleton
Sidney Smith replaced Andre Sanders in 1971 

Licensed courtesy of The Numero Group

Alan Kitchener (Soul-Directions Records)