The hidden date for this stamp can be found on the singer's shoulder.
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."
"A finger of Johnnie Ray, a touch of Frankie Laine, the zest of Elvis Presley, several drops of the Platters-shake and serve..." That's the way one Parisian reviewer described Canadian singing sensation Paul Anka, an Ottawa-born prodigy who had an ambition to succeed in show business from a young age.
Born on July 30, 1941, Anka was already performing local shows and on the radio at the age of 10 and had his first professional gig by age 15. His first hit, "Diana," soared to the top of Billboard's charts in less than four weeks before becoming the number one song in the world and the second-biggest-selling song ever recorded. Other hits soon followed, including "Lonely Boy" and "Put Your Head on My Shoulder."
Anka has recorded 125 albums, selling some 15 million copies worldwide. He's also the lyricist behind hits by other musicians, like Tom Jones' "She's a Lady," Buddy Holly's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore," and Frank Sinatra's signature song, "My Way." These achievements have earned him such tributes as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Order of Arts and Letters from the French government, and an induction into Canada's Walk of Fame.
Upon being inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame, Anka said: "My family came here to Canada...they were allowed to pursue their dreams and soon felt that this was their home. It's true, I left as a teenager, pursued those dreams...a man once said you can't go back, you can't go home again-well, that guy was not a Canadian."