Thursday, January 7, 2010

British postage stamp now available featuring Led Zeppelin album cover

Philatelist alert: A set of 10 new Royal Mail postage stamps issued today includes one design bearing the cover art from Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album.

The stamp design is the result of thoughtful work by Studio Dempsey.

Each of the 10 album stamps includes a standard "1st" insignia in gray, indicating a first class postage rate. On the Led Zeppelin album cover design, this insignia is unobtrusively located on the left side of the stamp, where the gray basically blends in with the gray behind it.

In addition, the stamps are uniquely shaped to accommodate a glimpse of a vinyl disc poking out of each record sleeve.

The design of Led Zeppelin's album artwork itself, originally seen in 1971, was coordinated by Graphreaks. Within the ranks of Atlantic Records, there was strong pressure for the band to relent and to place its name and an album title on the cover art. Led Zeppelin insisted there be no words on the record sleeve despite the objections from label executives that it would be tantamount to "commercial suicide." And with that objection, 32 million people have disagreed.

"Almost 40 years after the album came out, nobody knows the old man who featured on the cover, nor the artist who painted him," Jimmy Page told reporters yesterday. "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."

Other bands and artists whose album covers are featured in this first run of 10 designs are from all over the realm of popular British music and don't focus on any particular era or genre: the Rolling Stones (Let It Bleed), Blur (Parklife), New Order (Power, Corruption and Lies), David Bowie (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars), Coldplay (A Rush of Blood to the Head), the Clash (London Calling), Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells), Pink Floyd (The Division Bell) and Primal Scream (Screamadelica).

Usable stamps can be purchased through the Royal Mail's Web site with several different options. A collectable envelope featuring all 10 of the album cover design stamps and a unique "Plant Street" postmark in the West Midlands can be purchased from TBL/Web.

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