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Monday Morning Brief | David Bowie

January 30, 2017 08:00 AM

Watch as Scott catalog new-issues editor Marty Frankevicz reports on Great Britain’s stamps honoring rock star David Bowie. The stamps will be issued March 14.

Full video transcript:

Good morning and welcome to the Monday Morning Brief for January 30, 2017.

On March 14, Royal Mail, Great Britain’s postal service, will release a philatelic tribute to yet another of that country’s great rock and roll stars, the late David Bowie. Five stamps will feature album covers — Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Heroes, Let’s Dance, and Earthling — each of which has a distinctive photograph of Bowie that captures his quirky essence at various times during his long career. A sixth stamp depicts the cover of Blackstar, his final album, released January 8, 2016, two days before he died. Additionally, a sheet of stamps will depict Bowie as seen on stage in his 1972 Ziggy Stardust tour, 1978 Stage tour, 1983 Serious Moonlight tour, and 2004 A Reality tour.

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The stamps mark what would have been Bowie’s 70th birthday as well as the 50th anniversary of the release of his first album using the stage name David Bowie. On singles released in 1964 and 1965, he used his birth name — Davy Jones — but he changed his name to David Bowie in 1966, to avoid confusion with the Davy Jones who had shot to fame that year as a member of the Monkees.

Bowie was perhaps the biggest star of the glam rock era of the 1970s, constantly pushing the envelope with his music, costumes, hairdos and makeup, making people familiar with the word “androgyny.”

While there are plenty of people who aren’t rock fans who are not familiar with Bowie’s standards, like Changes and Modern Love, they know about him because of one of the most unlikely guest appearances in television history. The oddest of odd couples — straight-laced Bing Crosby and a toned-down David Bowie — performed a duet on Crosby’s 1977 Christmas special, filmed a few weeks before Crosby’s death. They were to sing the Christmas classic, The Little Drummer Boy together. But it was a song that Bowie abhorred. So Crosby sang it, while Bowie sang Peace on Earth — words hastily written by the show’s writers — as a descant over Crosby’s baritone. And it worked so well that it became a Christmas music staple.

Royal Mail began commemorating great British rock artists ten years ago with a tribute to the Beatles. In 2010, the art of ten memorable record album covers by various artists was featured. One of the album covers in that set was Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. And in 2016, the concert performances and album covers of Pink Floyd were commemorated. Considering all of the British musicians in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it is perhaps safe to say that Royal Mail has so far only scratched the surface. Similar sets for other rock superstars will undoubtedly follow in years to come.

For Linn’s Stamp News and the Scott Catalogues, I’m Marty Frankevicz. Enjoy your week in stamps.