Led Zeppelin guitar legend, Jimmy Page, today launched the Royal Mail’s much awaited New Year stamp collection featuring ten of the most iconic album covers of the last 40 years.
The cover of Led Zeppelin’s 32 million-selling album, IV, which Page helped create, is one of ten celebrated designs featured in the ‘Classic Album Covers’ collection. Each depicts a famous album cover with a disc coming out of the sleeve and appearing ‘outside’ the stamp.
Other memorable covers which have been immortalised in the range include the racing greyhounds of Blur’s Parklife, the astonishing statues of Pink Floyd’s Division Bell and the bent chromed pipe which graces the cover of Mike Oldfield’s seminal 70s album, Tubular Bells.
Celebrating the work of the album sleeve rather than of the music itself, the new stamp collection features the photography of Pennie Smith (The Clash’s London Calling), a cake baked by the then unknown Delia Smith (Rolling Stones’ Let it bleed) and a painting of an anonymous faggot-bearing man which is said to have been found by Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant in a Reading junk shop (IV). Despite massive sales of the album worldwide, nobody knows the name of the man in the painting, nor the artist who painted him. The full list is below.
Royal Mail carried out extensive research to agree the final ten, trawling through thousands of albums in the process. The new stamp collection goes on sale on Thursday 7th January 2010.
THE ALBUM COVERS
Rolling Stones/Let It Bleed (1969)
Designed by Robert Brownjohn, the sleeve sculpture was based on the initial album title of ‘Automatic Changer’ with the added cake created by the then unknown Delia Smith.
Led Zeppelin/’IV’ (1971)
The band’s fourth album had no mention of their name on the cover. The painting of the faggot-bearing old man was, it is said, found by singer Robert Plant in a Reading junk shop. For the cover it was nailed to a demolished house in Dudley.
David Bowie/The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972)
Heddon Street in London’s West End is the scene for the painting. Photographer Brian Ward helped to conceptualise Bowie’s notion of the alien pop star and the sleeve was designed by George Underwood with artwork by Terry Pastor.
Mike Oldfield/Tubular Bells (1973)
Designer and photographer Trevor Key brought Oldfield’s conception to life, of bent chrome metal piping cut out and overplayed on a photo of sea breaking on the south coast.
The Clash/London Calling (1979)
The third album from the band features Pennie Smith’s iconic shot of bassist Paul Simonon, considered one of the greatest rock photos of all time. Ray Lowry designed the artwork, paying homage to Elvis Presley’s debut album.
New Order/Power, Corruption and Lies (1983)
Peter Saville’s design juxtaposed French impressionist Henri Fantin-Latour’s painting with a colour-coded strip.
Primal Scream/Screamadelica (1991)
Paul Cannell became the in-house artist for the Heavenly and Creation record labels. For Creation he created this iconic image for Primal Scream’s album.
Pink Floyd/The Division Bell (1994)
Pink Floyd’ final studio album featured gigantic metal heads in long-time collaborator Storm Thorgerson’s design. The heads were drawn by Keith Breedon, sculpted by John Robertson and stood over nine-feet tall. Positioned in a field in Cambridgeshire, they were photographed over a two week period.
Blur’s third album distilled the essence of London, and the racing greyhounds were captured by photographer Bob Thomas, and the sleeve designed by Chris Thomson and Rob O'Connor of London design firm Stylorouge. Blur is an EMI artist.
Coldplay/A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
Chris Martin of Coldplay saw this arresting image in Dazed and Confused magazine, and wanted it for the album cover. It is the work of Norwegian photographer Solve Sundsbo, and the result of medical imaging technology. Coldplay is an EMI artist.
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