Next year the Royal Mail will launch its stamp programme with a set of ten 1st class stamps designed by Studio Dempsey that celebrate classic British album covers – including Blur’s Parklife (designed by Chris Thomson / Stylorouge. Photography: Bob Thomas), and New Order’s Power, Corruption and Lies (designed by Peter Saville) – both shown above.
Deciding what album covers to include was no easy task. Royal Mail tell us that they began the process by trawling through various existing polls of Greatest Album Covers. They also enlisted the help of editors from various leading UK music publications along with graphic designers and design writers who were asked to list the most significant album sleeve artwork used on records by British artists. The final selection of ten sleeves (which perhaps oddly doesn’t feature one of The Beatles’ album covers) will appear on a set of 10 stamps that will launch on January 7, 2010 – and the stamps will be uniquely shaped, as shown in these images, to accommodate a glimpse of a vinyl disc poking out of each record sleeve.
Above left: Led Zeppelin IV (1971) sleeve was art directed by the band’s Jimmy Page who wanted “total anonymity” hence no mention of the band’s name on the sleeve. At the time, one executive at the band’s label Atlantic described this move as “commercial suicide”. 32 million people disagreed! Design by Graphreaks. Above right: Primal Scream’s seminal 1991 album Screamadelica features a design by Paul Cannell inspired by Picasso
Above left: Rolling Stones’ 1969 album Let It Bleed cover by Robert Brownjohn. Above right: David Bowie’s 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars sports this cover by Main Artery that features a photograph of Bowie in full stage costume taken by Brian Ward in Heddon Street in central London
Above left: The sleeve of London Calling by The Clash (1979) features a photograph of bassist Paul Simonon smashing his bass on stage – as shot by Pennie Smith. Designer Ray Lowry’s design is apparently a homage to Elvis Presley’s debut album layout. Above right: Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (1973) sleeve is by Trevor Key
Above left: Pink Floyd’s 1994 album The Division Bell, art directed by Storm Thorgerson features sculptures by John Robertson which were shot in a field outside Ely in Cambridgeshire. Above right: Coldplay’s A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002). Art directed by Blue Source and Coldplay. Cover image by Sølve Sundsbø, in collaboration with Alexander Rutterford and Lost In Space
Stamp design by Studio Dempsey