Now here’s a surprise, I never thought that I would be writing a blog about Royal Mail, but never say never. Great music and great art – Royal Mail launches its 2010 stamps programme with ten iconic album covers from the past four decades. And who better to launch the Classic Album Covers issue than Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, who helped design the cover of the band’s 32 million selling fourth album – IV – which features on the stamps, released on 7 January.
I bought that album on tape when I was 12 years old, and I couldn’t get enough of Led Zeppelin. I had posters of all the album covers all over my bedroom. Most kids were listening to New Kids on the Block – I guess I was just a bit different!
Speaking about IV, Jimmy Page said: “Almost 40 years after the album came out, nobody knows the old man who featured on the cover, nor the artist who painted him – that sort of sums up what we wanted to achieve with the album cover, which has remained both anonymous and enigmatic at the same time.”
Classic Album Covers showcases some of the greatest examples of album design, side by side on ten 1st Class stamps. Whether it’s the bent chromed pipe of Mike Oldfield’s seminal 70s masterpiece, Tubular Bells, the astonishing statues of Pink Floyd’s Division Bell, or the racing greyhounds of Blur’s Brit Pop classic, Parklife – the images will be instantly recognisable to millions around the world.
As Classic Album Covers celebrates the work of the album sleeve designer not the music, Royal Mail carried out extensive research of existing lists and polls of ‘Greatest Album Covers’, trawling through thousands of albums in the process. Once the final ten were agreed, it was decided that while an album might be square, the stamps don’t have to be. This resulted in a design showing each album cover with its disc appearing ‘outside’ the stamp.
Julietta Edgar, Head of Special Stamps, Royal Mail said: “For decades the album sleeve has been the canvas for some of the most imaginative graphic artists in the world, and this issue celebrates this unique art form and some of its greatest examples.
Now go write some letters, so you can enjoy these pretty cool stamps. I hope I get one in the post soon!
Jimmy Page, lead guitarist in Led Zeppelin, is pictured with a supersize version of his iconic album ‘IV’ at world renowned record shop Rough Trade West, to celebrate the launch of Royal Mail’s Classic Album Covers Special Stamps. The stamps, which go on sale today, 7 January, feature classic album covers from the last four decades.