Being a rock star is a dream for many, with legendary parties and endless accolades. They get to live forever through their works, with books and movies based on their lives. However, there is a rare and unexpected honor bestowed upon the legends of rock and roll - stamps.

Queen
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Recently, the British rock band Queen made headlines when they were featured in a series of Royal Mail stamps. They have inspired 13 designs set to be released on July 2020. Designs vary from a posed studio shot of the London quartet to their album covers. The set reportedly includes individual artworks for each of its members: Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, Brian May, and John Deacon.


To list down the chosen few to have this honor, here are the other rock icons immortalized through postage stamps either in the UK or here in the US:


The Beatles (US and UK)

Of course, The Beatles is a worldwide phenomenon rarely surpassed or equaled by any other artist. Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr have all enjoyed fame and distinction as band members and as individual musicians. They would also influence latter British rock acts such as Queen, who have now joined them with their own postage memorabilia.

In 1999, the United States Postal Service honored Rock and Roll icons with an illustration of their iconic "Yellow Submarine" and the band's logo. The design was inspired by the track from their 1966 album, "Revolver."

Eight years later, in 2007, it was the Royal Mail's turn to create the Beatles' postage stamps. They released six stamps based on the band's album covers. Another four stamps featured memorabilia, including a guitar, a lunchbox, a vinyl record, and a tea tray.

Pink Floyd (UK)

Another one of the most influential British acts to direct the course of music history, Pink Floyd was also honored by the Royal Mail back in 2016. Ten postage stamps were issued in 8,000 post offices, coinciding with the band's 50th anniversary.

The designs included their album covers for "The Piper At The Gates of Dawn" (1967), "Atom Heart Mother" (1970), and the landmark album "The Dark Side of the Moon" (1973). 

Royal Mail's 2016 release also included designs inspired by other album covers for "Wish You Were Here" (1975), "Animals" (1977), and "The Endless River." Another four stamps featured live shots of the band's previous performances.

Elvis Presley (US and UK)

Elvis Presley, The King himself, was a former truck driver turned rock icon. He is among the pioneers of modern rock and roll. With hits such as "Jailhouse Rock," "Love Me Tender," and "Blue Suede Shoes," Elvis has crossed existing genres and racial borders to bring music that'll inspire musicians in the years to follow, Queen's frontman Freddie Mercury included.

In 1987, in time for Presley's 10th death anniversary, fans clamored for an Elvis stamp from the USPS. However, his troubles with substance abuse and reported "sightings" after his death made the decision a bit controversial. In 1993, however, USPS relented and released their Elvis Presley designs. This would be among their most successful prints, with 500 million copies available.

The King of Rock would also be honored by the UK postal service through the Royal Mail's commemorative stamp sheets in 2004. Four unique UK sheet designs were released for Rock and Roll's 50th anniversary, marked by Presley's first single, "That's Alright," on July 5, 1954.

Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens

Two of the four victims on "the day the music died," Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens would have their careers cut short in a tragic airplane accident. However, that didn't stop their legacy from flourishing. Their music from influenced acts such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Ritchie Valens was only 17, and Buddy Holly was 22 when they died in the accident. To commemorate their lasting influence as Rock and Roll pioneers, the USPS released limited-edition postage stamps for both of them on June 16, 1993. 

Aside from Holly and Valens, the other victims in the crash were pilot Roger Peterson and Jiles Perry "JP." Richardson Jr, better known as The Big Bopper.