The hidden date for this stamp can be found in the bottom-left corner.
It wasn't that long ago that some Canadian musicians had a hard time getting recognition in their own country. Before 1960, almost all records sold in Canada were by foreign performers. Not so today. Not only have Canadians focused their attention on the stars in their own backyard, but Canadian performers are also capturing the spotlight on the international stage.
On June 29, Canada Post will issue a set of four domestic rate (52¢) stamps to celebrate Canadian music icons: Joni Mitchell, Paul Anka, Anne Murray and Gordon Lightfoot. This issue follows last summer's popular Canadians in Hollywood issue.
"Creating these stamps is Canada Post's way of giving something back to these very talented artists, who have given so much to Canadians," says Liz Wong, manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post. Wong adds that the four stamps are only the second Canada Post issue to honour living Canadians, the first being Oscar Peterson in 2005. "Trivia buffs may notice that living Canadians honoured on a postage stamp have something in common-they've all received the Order of Canada," says Wong.
The CD-shaped Canadian Recording Artists booklets, available with eight stamps, will also put a new spin on this type of collectible. There are four different booklets, with each cover featuring the image of one of the recording artists. Inside, the stamps are arranged in one of four different orders, with the singer featured on the cover appearing in the top-left position. The booklets also include envelope seals and information about the featured artist. In addition, a souvenir sheet, OFDC and postcards are available.
Robert L. Peters of Winnipeg's Circle Design Inc. says his design team was very enthusiastic about working with "living legends" while they developed the Canadian Recording Artists issue. "We tried to portray the distinctive personality of each performer," Peters explains. "And, we wanted to depict them at a significant moment in their careers."
Inspired by album covers, each stamp is square in format and features a photo of the artist along with distinctively styled fonts appropriate to the era. As some of the photos were taken over 30 years ago, obtaining suitable originals and approvals involved a significant amount of research.
To reflect the glamour and prestige of the recording artists, Peters incorporated a distinctive MetalFX® process. "The MetalFX process involves under-printing in metallic silver ink, then over-printing with other colours," says Peters. "The result gives a lustrous sheen to the artists' portraits and lends a 'platinum album' feel to the shiny, disc-shaped stamp booklets and souvenir sheet."
The stamps went through various design refinements before reaching their final form. "Like human gestation, designing a stamp is a simple but complex process," Peters explains. "It takes about nine months to do, and you can't rush it."
"[Gordon Lightfoot's] voice is such a part of the fabric of Canada, I know it almost as well as I know my own voice." So said musician, producer and composer, David Foster, about Lightfoot's impact on Canadian culture.
Lightfoot was born on November 17, 1938, in Orillia, Ontario. A talented youth, he performed at Massey Hall at the age of 13, and performed in a barbershop quartet called The Teen-Timers during high school. Soon after, he performed with a choral and dance group on CBC's Country Hoedown and later played the North American coffeehouse circuit. His American break came with "If You Could Read My Mind," followed by such hits as "Alberta Bound," "Did She Mention My Name?" and "The Way I Feel."
Lightfoot's tributes include, among others, 15 Juno Awards, an induction into the Juno Hall of Fame, the Governor General's Performing Arts Award, and the first induction to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.