The Royal Mail has released a set of 10 stamps which show a series of classic album designs.
The stamps all show a vinyl record sliding out of the 'album', extending beyond the stamp's perforations on the right. All the albums all classics from famous bands, but the artwork was foremost in the minds of those who made the selections.
The selection is being launched with the help of Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, whose 1971 album IV is represented. The album includes the song Stairway to Heaven, but it is the enigmatic painting of an old man carrying a bundle of sticks on the cover which drew the attention of the selectors.
No one knows the identity of the man or even the painter, which captures the anonymous feel Led Zeppelin were looking for. The name of the band doesn't appear on the cover. Led Zeppelin collectors may be interested to know that a set of autographs from the band is currently available.
Often the covers stood out because they were not typically rock and roll. The Rolling Stones album Let It Bleed features a lovely cake. (Even less rock and roll is the fact that the cake was made by a then unheard of Delia Smith.)
"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," Royal Mail's head of special stamps Julietta Edgar told the BBC.
"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 1st class stamps" she added.
The only albums depicted are: Let It Bleed (The Rolling Stones), IV (Led Zeppelin), A Rush of Blood to the Head (Coldplay), Power, Corruption and Lies (New Order), London Calling (The Clash) Screamadelica (Primal Scream), Tubular Bells (Mike Oldfield), The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (David Bowie), The Division Bell (Pink Floyd) and Parklife (Blur).
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