John Lennon is the most recent music legend to be commemorated by the United States Postal Service in their Music Icons series – a group which includes Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, and Lydia Mendoza. The John Lennon forever stamp will be issued on September 7, 2018 in New York City.
Born in Liverpool, England in 1940, Lennon seems at first to be an unexpected choice for a USPS stamp. However, the former Beatle resided in New York City with his wife and Yoko Ono from 1970 to his death on December 8, 1980 and actually received his U.S. greencard in 1976.
The stamp honoring the famous singer-songwriter will be issued in a pane of 16, with the stamp pane design resembling the sleeve of a 45rpm record. The design is also unique in that there will be four different stamps in this issue.
The stamps all feature a photograph of Lennon taken by the famous rock ‘n’ roll photographer Bob Gruen in August 1974, but the stamps in each horizontal row are tinted with different gradients of colors, creating four distinct varieties.
The colors on the stamps in the top row change from yellow orange to red, the second row changes from red to light purple, the third from light purple to dark purple and the bottom from dark purple to blue.
The image on the reverse of the pane is a black-and-white photograph of Lennon at his white piano and includes Lennon’s signature in white above the scene. The photograph, taken by Peter Fordham was originally used to promote Lennon’s 1971 solo album Imagine.
The stamp was designed by Neal Ashby and Antonio Alcala was the art director.
The USPS previously honored The Beatles in 1999 as part of the Celebrate the Century series. That stamp depicted the iconic Yellow Submarine from the Beatles animated movie and album (A movie which is heading back to the theatres this year for the 50th Anniversary of its release). The upcoming John Lennon stamp is the first one to feature an actual likeness of one of the Beatles on a U.S. stamp.
Britain’s Royal Mail also paid tribute to the Beatles in postage form in 2007.