The hidden date for this stamp can be found in the top-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."
Elton John once said: "I know two things about Canada: hockey and Anne Murray." With a career spanning almost four decades, it's no wonder that Murray is as well-known as Canada's beloved sport.
Murray was born on June 20, 1945, in Springhill, Nova Scotia. Her musical talent was apparent from childhood, and she began training in piano and vocals at a young age. After her 1966 graduation from university, she was offered a spot on CBC-TV's Singalong Jubilee. Her popularity increased with the release of her first hit single, "Snowbird," and when she became a regular on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. A variety of hits followed, including "Danny's Song," "You Needed Me" and "Could I Have This Dance." Interestingly, her hits often made both the pop and country charts, sometimes simultaneously.
Murray's success drew national and international respect. Her many accolades include four Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, three Country Music Association Awards, three Canadian Country Music Association Awards, 24 Junos, and an induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Juno Hall of Fame, as well as the Companion of the Order of Canada.
"I was deeply honoured to be chosen by Canada Post to grace a stamp this year," Murray recently said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime acknowledgment and I'm pleased to be a part of this series."