U.S. Postal Service Announces Updates to the 2018 Stamp Program
The John Lennon commemorative “Forever Stamp” will be issued on September 7th by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The stamps will be issued in a pane of 16, with a design aping a vinyl picture sleeve. The stamps themselves use a famed 1974 photo by legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen, with the photo on the rear using the iconic 1971 Lennon shot of him at his English Tittenhurst Park estate recording “Imagine,” captured by Peter Fordham.
Among its stamp subjects for 2018 is former Beatle, John Lennon, as part of the Music Icon series. He joins other stars in the series including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, and Lydia Mendoza.
For the first time, the Postal Service is revealing the full pane for these stamps, featuring a photograph of John Lennon taken by noted rock-and-roll photographer Bob Gruen in August 1974. Taken on the rooftop of Lennon’s Manhattan apartment, the photograph is part of a series of images taken by Gruen during the photo session for Lennon’s 1974 album Walls and Bridges.
The original black-and-white photograph has been treated in gradations of color: from yellow orange to red in the top row, from red to light purple in the second row, from light purple to dark purple in the third row and from dark purple to blue in the bottom row. Lennon’s signature appears at the top of the stamps. “USA,” the peace symbol, and the Forever denomination appear along the bottom.
The stamp pane is designed to resemble a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. One side of the pane includes the stamps and brief text about Lennon’s legacy, with the image of a sliver of a record seeming to peek out the top of the sleeve.