Jimmy Page with a supersize version of Led Zeppelin's iconic album, IV
Top row, from left: The Division Bell – Pink Floyd; A Rush of Blood to the Head – Coldplay; Parklife – Blur; Power Corruption and Lies – New Order; Let It Bleed – The Rolling Stones. Bottom row, from left: London Calling – The Clash; Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield; IV – Led Zeppelin; Screamadelica – Primal Scream; The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – David Bowie
Two sets of 10 CDs, plus prestige stamp books are up for grabs as well as complete sets of the new Classic Album Covers stamps for 20 runners-up
GREAT music and great art often go hand in hand and Royal Mail is celebrating that connection with its first new stamps of 2010 which bear the images from 10 iconic pop and rock album covers from the past four decades.
The newly released Classic Album Covers series features some of the greatest examples of record and CD sleeve design, brought to life on 10 self-adhesive first class stamps featuring an unusual off-square design.
Whether it's the bent chromed pipe of Mike Oldfield's seminal 70s masterpiece Tubular Bells, the astonishing statues of Pink Floyd's Division Bell, or the racing greyhounds of Blur's Britpop classic Parklife, the images will be instantly recognisable to millions of music fans around the world.
The collection was launched by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, who helped design the cover of the band's 32 million-selling fourth album IV, one of the LPs featured on the stamps.
"Almost 40 years after the album came out, nobody knows the old man who featured on the cover, nor the artist who painted him – 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," said Jimmy.
Royal Mail's quest began with extensive research of existing lists and polls of Greatest Album Covers, trawling through thousands of albums in the process.
It also enlisted the help of the editors from UK music publications, together with graphic designers and design writers who were asked to independently list the most significant album sleeve artwork on records by British artists. Working from the final list of 10, designers Studio Dempsey produced a design which shows each album cover, but with a musical twist; each stamp features a vinyl disc which appears outside the die-cut of the stamp.
Julietta Edgar, head of Special Stamps at Royal Mail, said: "For decades the album sleeve has been the canvas for some of the most imaginative graphic artists in the world, and this issue celebrates this unique art form and some of its greatest examples.
"We hope customers will enjoy the opportunity to send or collect these classic album designs in their smallest format yet – as miniature works of art on millions of first class stamps."
Our two top prize winners will each win a complete set of CDs featured on the Classic Album Covers, plus a book of the collection's stamps which includes lots of detail on the history of album sleeve artwork since the Second World War.
Our 20 runners-up will each win a set of the 10 first class mint Classic Album Covers stamps in an informative card slipcase.
For your chance to win send the correct answer to the question below, with your name, address and daytime telephone number to Classic Album Covers Competition, Features Desk, WMN, 17 Brest Road, Plymouth PL6 5AA, to arrive no later than Friday, January 29.
What is the name of the Led Zeppelin guitarist who launched the Classic Album Covers stamps?
Stamps and stamp products are available at all post offices or online at www.royalmail.com/stamps.
- The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed (1969) The sleeve sculpture by Robert Brownjohn was based on the initial album title of Automatic Changer with the cake created by a then unknown Delia Smith.
- Led Zeppelin – IV (1971) The band’s fourth album had no mention of their name on the cover. The painting of the faggot-bearing old man was, it is said, found by singer Robert Plant in a Reading junk shop. For the cover it was nailed to a demolished house in Dudley.
- David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972) Heddon Street in London’s West End is the scene for the painting. Photographer Brian Ward helped to conceptualise Bowie’s notion of the alien pop star and the sleeve was designed by George Underwood with artwork by Terry Pastor.
- Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (1973) Trevor Key brought Oldfield’s conception to life, of bent chrome metal piping cut out and overlaid on a photo of sea breaking on the south coast.
- The Clash – London Calling (1979) The third album from the band features Pennie Smith’s iconic shot of bassist Paul Simonon, considered one of the greatest rock photos of all time. Ray Lowry designed the artwork, paying homage to Elvis Presley’s debut album.
- New Order – Power, Corruption and Lies (1983) Peter Saville’s design juxtaposed French impressionist Henri Fantin-Latour’s painting with a colour-coded strip.
- Primal Scream – Screamadelica (1991) Paul Cannell became the in-house artist for the Heavenly and Creation record labels. For Creation he created this iconic image for Primal Scream’s album.
- Pink Floyd – The Division Bell (1994) Pink Floyd’ final studio album featured gigantic metal heads in long-time collaborator Storm Thorgerson’s design. The heads were drawn by Keith Breedon, sculpted by John Robertson and stood over 9ft tall. They were photographed over a two-week period in a field in Cambridgeshire.
- Blur – Parklife (1994) Blur’s third album distilled the essence of London. The racing greyhounds were captured by photographer Bob Thomas and the sleeve designed by Chris Thomson and Rob O’Connor of design firm Stylorouge.
- Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002) Chris Martin of Coldplay saw this arresting image in Dazed and Confused magazine, and wanted it for the album cover. It is the work of Norwegian photographer Solve Sundsbo, and the result of medical imaging technology.