Stamps Honour Four Music Icons

Four legendary Canadian entertainers are being honoured this year with postage stamps bearing their faces.

Paul Anka, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray are featured on the limited edition 52-cent stamps.

Canada Post chose retro images of the stars for the colourful stamps.

Anka, who turns 66 next month, was born and raised in Ottawa. He shot to fame by writing and performing songs like "Diana," "Put Your Head on My Shoulders" and "My Way."

Mitchell, now 63, was born in Fort Macleod, Alberta and became one of the most iconic singer-songwriters in the world. Her hits include "Both Sides Now" and "Big Yellow Taxi."

Lightfoot, 68, was born in Orillia, Ontario, and played his folk music in Toronto before achieving international success with songs like "If You Could Read My Mind."

Murray, who turns 62 this month, hails from Springhill, Nova Scotia. She became one of the country's most recognized performers thanks to songs like "Snowbird" and "You Needed Me."

Musical Licks: New Canada Post Series Pays Tribute To Pop Icons

Katherine Monk, CanWest News Service
Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Canada Post continues to push the envelope.

Last year, the Crown corporation made the bold leap into celebrity stamps with an homage to Canadians who made it big in Hollywood. Today, the national mail service unveils its latest star-studded series featuring Canadian music icons Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray and Paul Anka.

If you're wondering what happened to Neil Young, don't fret, says Canada Post's marketing and public relations manager Cindy Daoust. "These are just the first four, chances are good there will be a sequel."

As with any decision on subject matter, the corporation looks to an advisory committee comprised of historians, stamp collectors, educators and business people in order to make the selections, Daoust says.

"We get thousands of suggestions from Canadians every year and recording artists have always been one of the more requested themes. Canadians want to see Canada Post recognize homegrown talent," says Daoust from her Ottawa office.

"The recording artists who were selected are ones who established themselves on a world stage before Canadian music was as popular as it is now -- and when we were still struggling to compete against our American counterparts," she says.

Considering other countries such as the United States, and even tiny Russian states such as Ingushia, have been turning celebrity images into lickable gold for decades, Canada Post's foray into the world of pop culture is relatively new.

Daoust says the first "celebrity" stamp the corporation ever printed was two years ago, in recognition of jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.

The Peterson stamp was a significant success and paved the way for last year's release of a four-part "Canadians in Hollywood" pane, featuring John Candy, Fay Wray, Lorne Greene and Mary Pickford.

"The Canadians in Hollywood series was extremely popular. It was one of our bestsellers of the year, and for all time. The John Candy stamp in particular proved to be a tremendous success," she says.

Daoust says she can't break down the specifics as far as revenue goes because it's not part of the corporation's accounting procedures, but she says there are about one million stamp collectors in the world, and Canada Post issues tend to be popular with everyone who knows stamps because of their high quality.

"We have very high standards we do not want to waver from," says Daoust. "We feel we have subject integrity, in that we don't just put out a stamp because it's profitable. We have more, shall we say, altruistic aims. We strive to promote Canadian content and Canadian culture and to recognize, and showcase, the achievements of Canadians."

Daoust says Murray, Mitchell, Lightfoot and Anka were all approached for their consent to participate, and approval of the final artwork.

"We worked in partnership with the talent and their people. It wouldn't really behoove the corporation to honour a star with an image they don't like."

The Canadian Recording Artists stamp series features photographs of each singer-songwriter screened similar colours to ensure thematic unity, and was designed by Circle in Winnipeg, and printed by Lowe-Martin for Canada Post.

The stamps will be available June 29.