The Royal Mail is issuing a set of 13 special stamps to celebrate one of the UK’s most influential rock groups, Queen, the iconic rock group who has managed to sell more 300 million records across five decades.
Eight of the new stamps will feature images of some of the band’s most iconic album covers, including 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 in 1986, Roger Taylor at Hyde Park in 1976, John Deacon at Hammersmith Odeon in 1975, and Brian May in Budapest in 1986.
The centrepiece of the miniature-sheet is the iconic photograph taken by Johnny Dewe Mathews at the group’s first studio photoshoot in a Primrose Hill studio.
Roger Taylor said of the stamps: “Wow….stamps featuring our albums! What an honour. We must be really part of the furniture now. Thanks Royal Mail for stamping on us ! In gratitude.”
Brian May added: “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 realise 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 were only in their formative stages when they were hired to play their 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 line-up that would remain together for the next two decades made their first live appearance at Surrey College on July, 2, 1971.
The band’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 UK charts with sales of over six million copies of the band’s Greatest Hits album.
The 2018 feature film Bohemian Rhapsody reinvigorated a base of core fans 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.
Celebrating their 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, 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 and are available to purchase and be delivered worldwide.
The stamps and a wide range of collectible products are available now to pre-order at www.royalmail.com/queen
The stamps will go on general sale from July, 9, 2020.
Album covers – stamp by stamp
Queen II, 1973, gave the band their first top ten hit, ‘Seven Seas of Rhye’.
Sheer Heart Attack, 1974, featured the single ‘Killer Queen’ which was their first global hit and they made their first Top of the Pops appearance
A Night at the Opera, 1975, was their first number one album and featured the ground-breaking song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ which, in the era of digital music, has become the most streamed song from the 20th century.
New of the World, 1977, featured two stadium-filling anthems ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We Are the Champions’.
The Game, 1980, included their hit ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ which drew in new audiences.
Greatest Hits, 1981, is the biggest selling album in the UK of all time.
The Works, 1984, featured hit singles including their love letter to the old-fashioned wireless, ‘Radio Ga Ga’.
Innuendo, 1991, was the final Queen album to be released in Mercury’s lifetime, and featured the poignant ‘These Are the Days of Our Lives’.