Britain's Royal Mail has announced it is issuing a set of 13 special stamps to celebrate one of the U.K.'s most influential rock groups of all time, QUEEN. With more than 300 million record sales across five decades, they are one of the most successful music artists of all time.
Eight stamps will feature images of some of QUEEN's most popular and iconic album covers: "Queen II", 1974; "Sheer Heart Attack", 1974; "A Night At The Opera", 1975; "News Of The World", 1977; "The Game", 1980; "Greatest Hits", 1981; "The Works", 1984; and "Innuendo", 1991. Completing the set is miniature-sheet celebrating QUEEN's live performances with images of: Freddie Mercury at Wembley Stadium, 1986; Roger Taylor at Hyde Park, 1976; John Deacon at Hammersmith Odeon, 1975; and Brian May in Budapest, 1986.
The centerpiece of the miniature-sheet is the iconic photograph taken by Johnny Dewe Mathews at the group's first-ever studio photoshoot in a Primrose Hill studio.
Drummer Roger Taylor said of the stamps: "Wow... stamps featuring our albums! What an honor. We must be really part of the furniture now! Thanks, Royal Mail, for stamping on us! In gratitude."
Guitarist Brian May said: "It's hard to put into words what I feel when looking at these beautiful stamps. Since we four precocious boys started out on our quest 50 years ago, our lives have been devoted to making our impossible dream come true. Sometimes it's strange to wake up and realize the position in which we are now held — we have become a national institution! And nothing brings this home more than this incredible tribute from Royal Mail. It's particularly poignant to look at this collection of images now — now that we are all in a world dominated by a coronavirus, in which none of this could have happened. I just know that I feel an overwhelming desire to own one of these sets! Somehow it will be a way of persuading myself that it really DID all happen!"
QUEEN was in its formative stages when it was hired to play its first gig: a charity event at Truro City Hall, in June 1970, while still performing under the name SMILE. By the time John Deacon joined the following year, the group had changed their name; the four-piece lineup that would remain together for the next two decades made their first live appearance at Surrey College on July 2, 1971.
From the outset, the theatricality of QUEEN's music found a natural outlet in their stage shows. As glam rock flowered alongside QUEEN's rise to fame, the group would tap into the extravagance of the era — and then very quickly outstrip it.
QUEEN's list of musical achievements is rivalled by few: countless platinum, multi-platinum and gold albums; numerous Ivor Novello and BRITS awards; induction into the Grammy Hall Of Fame and a recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, QUEEN also holds the record for the biggest-selling album of all time on the official U.K. charts, with sales of over six million copies of its "Greatest Hits" album. With their 2018 feature film "Bohemian Rhapsody", they reinvigorated their core fan base and generated a whole new audience the world over. The film became the biggest music biopic in history and swept the Golden Globes and Oscars with the soundtrack topping the charts the world over.
Few bands can match the breadth of creativity on display in QUEEN's discography. Dominating over four decades with their cutting-edge music, the band's legacy continues to inspire.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, QUEEN becomes only the third music group to have a dedicated stamp issue — following on from THE BEATLES in 2007 and PINK FLOYD in 2016.
Philip Parker of Royal Mail, said: "With their truly original, theatrical sound and effortless ability to mix musical styles, QUEEN are rock royalty. We pay tribute to one of the most loved bands of all time with these stunning stamps."
The full set of 13 stamps, available in a Presentation Pack, retails at £16.00. The stamps and a wide range of collectible products are available now to pre-order at www.royalmail.com/queen and in the QUEEN online store.