These stamps featuring The Tragically Hip, Rush, The Guess Who and Beau Dommage are the latest in our ongoing series honouring Canadian recording artists – and the first to feature bands rather than individual performers. The commercial and critical success that these groundbreaking musicians have achieved reaches far beyond our borders.
The Guess Who
The Guess Who got their start in Winnipeg in 1962 when singer and songwriter Chad Allen joined Jim Kale, Randy Bachman, Garry Peterson and Bob Ashley to form Chad Allen and the Reflections. In 1965, the band’s single “Shakin’ All Over” was released to radio stations in a plain white record jacket bearing only the words “Guess Who?”. Intended to pique curiosity, the name immediately caught on.
Following Bob Ashley’s departure, Burton Cummings joined the group. Throughout the band’s career, The Guess Who have recorded 14 top-40 hit singles, sold millions of albums, won two JUNO Awards and been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame. In 2002, the band received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. While its membership has changed over the years, the group continues to record and perform to sold-out audiences across the globe.
Designer Louis Gagnon of Paprika drew on feedback from the groups in this series to focus on what fans recognized most about their beloved artists. The result: stamps with group shots of Beau Dommage and The Tragically Hip alongside stamps featuring the iconic logo of The Guess Who and the fan-favourite cover of Rush’s album, 2112.
Each stamp will be released individually on its own First Day Cover. For the design, Gagnon had access to press and performance shots as well as album covers. To keep everything united, he showed each group’s graphic logo and kept colour tones and textures consistent.
“The main challenge was trying to catch the mood of each band, while keeping a respectful look and feel,” explains Gagnon. The current band members were present in the development process and gave their input all the way through. That helped us balance how we saw the final result and how they wanted to be represented.”
“Although these bands have existed for over 30 years, they are still active and performing today,” he adds, “so we wanted to stay as close as possible to a timeless treatment.”
Canada Post’s Stamp Design Manager Liz Wong echoed those challenges. “Representing the incredible history of these groups in just a few images is nearly impossible. Balancing history with the present to create something classic and lasting was essential.”
“This release is really about the fans,” says Wong. “We wanted to turn the larger-than-life character of each group into something that every fan would recognize and love.”
For Gagnon, working on the series was an honour. “These names have enormous history and, along with their all-time classics, are still very influential in the rock scene,” he says. “It was very rewarding to design their stamps, considering that these will travel the world and be part of special collections.”