Royal Mail | Royal Mail Shop | Collect GB Stamps | WOPA+

Great Britain

09 July 2020

Queen 50th Anniversary

Great Britain: Queen 50th Anniversary, 9 July 2020. Images from Royal Mail.

Technical Specifications:

Stamp format: Landscape
Stamp size: 38mm x 31mm
Design: Royal Mail Group Ltd based on an original design by Studio Dempsey
Number per sheet: 24/48
Printer: International Security Printers
Print process: Lithography
Perforations: 14 x 14
Phosphor Bars: as appropriate
Gum: PVA

Celebrating this legendary band’s record-breaking, hit-making career with Special Stamps and Collectibles honouring classic albums and spectacular live shows.

Includes four First Class stamps and four £1.63 stamps.

Queen II | 1974 First Class

Queen II is the second studio album by the British rock band Queen. It was released on 8 March 1974 by EMI Records in the UK and by Elektra Records in the US. It was recorded at Trident Studios and Langham 1 Studios, London, in August 1973 with co-producers Roy Thomas Baker and Robin Geoffrey Cable, and engineered by Mike Stone.

Described as “arguably the heaviest Queen album”, Queen II marked the end of the first phase of the band’s career. The album combines a heavy rock sound with art rock and progressive rock elements, and has been called “a pillar of grandiose, assaultive hard rock” by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Queen II is not a concept album but a collection of songs with a loose theme running throughout. The two sides of the original LP were labelled “Side White” and “Side Black” (instead of the conventional sides “A” and “B”), with corresponding photos of the band dressed in white or in black on either side of the record’s label face. The white side has songs with a more emotional theme and the black side is almost entirely about fantasy, often with quite dark themes. Mick Rock’s iconic cover photograph was frequently re-used by the band throughout its career, including the music videos for the songs “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975), and “One Vision” (1985).

Released to an initially mixed critical reception, Queen II remains one of the band’s lesser-known albums. Nonetheless, the album has retained a cult following since its release, garnered praise from critics, fans, and fellow musicians alike, and is significant in being the first album to contain elements of the band’s signature sound of multi-layered overdubs, vocal harmonies, and varied musical styles.

Sheer Heart Attack | 1974 First Class

Sheer Heart Attack is the third studio album by Queen, released on 8 November 1974 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. Digressing from the progressive themes featured on their first two albums, this album featured more pop-centric and conventional rock tracks and marked a step towards the “classic” Queen sound. It was produced by the band and Roy Thomas Baker and launched Queen to mainstream popularity in the UK and throughout the world.

After the release of Queen II, the group embarked on a promotional tour with Mott the Hoople. However, in the middle of the tour, Brian May was struck down with illness, forcing the entire tour to end early. Much of the album was written while May was recovering in hospital; nonetheless, the album’s first single “Killer Queen” reached number 2 in the British charts and provided them with their first top 20 hit in the U.S., peaking at number 12 on the Billboard singles chart. Sheer Heart Attack was the first Queen album to hit the U.S. top 20, peaking at number 12 in 1975. The album has been acknowledged for containing “a wealth of outstanding hard rock guitar tracks”. Retrospectively, it has been listed by multiple publications as one of the band’s best works and has been deemed an essential glam rock album.

A Night At The Opera | 1975 First Class

A Night at the Opera is the fourth studio album by Queen, released on 21 November 1975 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen, it was reportedly the most expensive album ever recorded at the time of its release. The album’s title is taken from the Marx Brothers film of the same name.

A Night at the Opera was recorded at various studios across a four-month period in 1975. Due to management issues, Queen had received almost none of the money they earned for their previous albums. Subsequently, they ended their contract with Trident Studios and did not use their studios for the album (with the sole exception being “God Save the Queen”, which had been recorded the previous year). They employed a complex production that extensively used multitrack recording, and the songs incorporated a wide range of styles, such as ballads, music hall, dixieland, hard rock and progressive rock influences. Aside from their usual equipment, Queen also utilised a diverse range of instruments such as a double bass, harp, ukulele and more.

Upon release, A Night at the Opera topped the UK Albums Chart for four non-consecutive weeks. It peaked at number four on the US Billboard 200 and became the band’s first platinum-certified album in the US. The worldwide sales for the album are over six million copies. It also produced the band’s most successful single in the UK, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which became their first UK number one. Despite being twice as long as the average length of singles during the 1970s, the song became immensely popular worldwide.

Contemporary reviews for A Night at the Opera were mixed, with praise for its production and the diverse musical themes, and recognition as the album that established Queen as worldwide superstars. At the 19th Grammy Awards, it received Grammy Award nominations for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus and Best Arrangement for Voices. Retrospective reviews have hailed it as Queen’s best album, and one of the greatest albums in rock music history. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it at number 231 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2018, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

News of the World | 1977 First Class

News of the World – the name alludes to the newspaper – is the sixth studio album by Queen, released on 28 October 1977 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. News of the World was the band’s second album to be recorded at Sarm West and Wessex Sound Studios, London, and engineered by Mike Stone, and was co-produced by the band and Stone.

In 1977, punk rock acts, most notably the Sex Pistols, sparked massive backlash against progressive rock artists such as Queen, to which the band responded by simplifying their symphonic rock sound and gearing towards a more spontaneous hard rock sound. The album subsequently went 4× platinum in the United States, reaching number 3 on the US Billboard 200, number 4 on the UK Albums Chart and achieving high certifications around the world. It has sold over 10 million copies and remains one of the band’s best-selling studio albums to date. Its lead single, “We Are the Champions”/”We Will Rock You”, reached number two on the UK Singles Chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 100. Critical reaction to News of the World was initially mixed, with many reviewers commenting on the band’s change in musical style. However, it has since come to be regarded as one of Queen’s greatest albums, while “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You” have since become rock anthems.

The Game | 1980 £1.63

The Game is the eighth studio album by Queen. It was released on 30 June 1980 by EMI Records in the UK and by Elektra Records in the US. The Game features a different sound from its predecessor, Jazz (1978). The Game was the first Queen album to use a synthesizer (an Oberheim OB-X). “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “Sail Away Sweet Sister”, “Coming Soon” and “Save Me” were recorded from June to July 1979. The remaining songs were recorded between February and May 1980.

A critical and commercial success, The Game became the only Queen album to reach No. 1 in the US, and became their best-selling studio album in the US, with four million copies sold to date, tying with the sales for News of the World. Notable songs on the album include the bass-driven “Another One Bites the Dust” and the rockabilly “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, both of which reached No. 1 in the US. Reissued in May 2003 on DVD-Audio with Dolby 5.1 surround sound and DTS 5.1. The 5.1 mix of “Coming Soon” features an alternate backing track, as the final master tapes could not be found when mixing the album to 5.1.

Greatest Hits | 1981 £1.63

Greatest Hits is a compilation album by the British rock band Queen, released worldwide on 26 October 1981. The album consisted of Queen’s biggest hits since their first chart appearance in 1974 with “Seven Seas of Rhye”, up to their 1980 hit “Flash” (though in some countries “Under Pressure”, the band’s 1981 chart-topper with David Bowie, was included). There was no universal track listing or cover art for the album, and each territory’s tracks were dependent on what singles had been released there and which were successful. In 1991, the US version of the album Classic Queen was released following the band’s rekindled popularity in the nation.

Greatest Hits was a commercial success worldwide with sales of over 25 million copies, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. It reached number one on the UK Albums Chart, spending four weeks at the top and sold consistently well throughout the 1980s, becoming the fourth-biggest selling album of the decade. The single “Under Pressure”, which was released the same week as Greatest Hits, also topped the UK Singles Chart.

As of October 2019, Greatest Hits has spent 868 weeks on the UK Albums Chart and has been certified 20× platinum with sales of over 6 million copies, making it the best-selling album of all time in the UK. Among the longest charting albums in the US, as of April 2020, it has spent 380 weeks on the Billboard 200. It has been certified 8× platinum in the US, 15× platinum in Australia, 10× platinum in New Zealand, and 3× platinum in Canada. Following the release of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018, it re-entered the charts of countries worldwide.

The Works | 1984 £1.63

The Works is the eleventh studio album by Queen, released on 27 February 1984 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and it is the band’s first studio album to be released by Capitol Records in the United States. After the synth-heavy Hot Space (1982), the album saw the re-emergence of Brian May and Roger Taylor’s rock sound, while still incorporating the early 80s retro futuristic electronic music (Freddie Mercury) and New York funk scenes (John Deacon). Recorded at the Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles, California and Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany from August 1983 to January 1984, the album’s title comes from a comment Taylor made as recording began – “Let’s give them the works!” During the decade, after a negative reaction against and ban of the music video for “I Want to Break Free” in the United States, the band decided not to tour in North America and lost the top spot in US sales, but sales around the world (especially Europe) would be even better. Despite failing to reach #1, it spent 94 weeks on the UK Albums Chart, the longest for a Queen studio album. The Works has sold over 6 million copies worldwide.

Innuendo | 1991 £1.63

Innuendo is the fourteenth studio album by Queen, released on 4 February 1991 by Parlophone in the United Kingdom and it is the band’s first studio album to be released by Hollywood Records in the United States. Produced by David Richards and the band, it was the band’s last album to be released in lead singer Freddie Mercury’s lifetime, and their most recent one to be composed of entirely new material. It reached the No. 1 spot on the UK album charts and stayed at that position for two weeks, and also peaked at No. 1 in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland, staying at No. 1 for three weeks, four weeks, six weeks, and eight weeks, respectively. It was the first Queen album to go Gold in the US upon its release since The Works in 1984.

The album was recorded between March 1989 and November 1990.[4] In the spring of 1987, Mercury had been diagnosed with AIDS, although he kept his illness a secret from the public and denied numerous media reports that he was seriously ill. The band and producers were aiming for a November or December release date in order to catch the crucial Christmas market, but Mercury’s declining health meant that the release of the album did not take place until February 1991. Stylistically, Innuendo is in some sense a return to Queen’s roots, with its harder rock sound, complex musical composition (title track), psychedelic effects (“I’m Going Slightly Mad”), and somewhat weakened vocals from Mercury ranging over three octaves (F2-A5). Nine months after the album was released, Mercury died of AIDS-derived bronchopneumonia.

The album cover was designed by Queen and Richard Gray. The booklets and single covers from the album are by Grandville, or are inspired by his illustrations. Innuendo was voted the 94th greatest album of all time in a national 2006 BBC poll.


Sheets:


Miniature Sheet: Queen Live

Technical Specifications:

Stamp format: Square band member stamps; portrait band stamp
Stamp size: Band member stamps 35mm x 35mm; portrait band stamp 20mm x 24mm
Miniature Sheet: size 192mm x 74mm
Design: Royal Mail Group Ltd and Baxter & Bailey
Printer: International Security Printers
Print process: Lithography
Perforations: Band member stamps 14.5mm x 14.5mm; portrait band stamp 15mm x 14mm
Phosphor Bars
Gum: PVA

This Miniature Sheet pays homage to Queen and their iconic live performances. Four of the stamps capture each of the original Queen line-up in performance while the fifth includes a group photograph of the band.

Comprises three First Class stamps and two £1.63 stamps.

Magic Tour | 1986 Frontman Freddie Mercury at Wembley Stadium. First Class

The Magic Tour was Queen’s final tour with their lead singer Freddie Mercury and their bass guitarist John Deacon, with 26 concert dates in Europe in 1986. The band did not tour again until 19 years later, when the Queen + Paul Rodgers Tour began in 2005, after the death of Mercury on 24 November 1991, and the retirement of Deacon in 1997. The Magic Tour supported the band’s album A Kind of Magic.

In 1987, Mercury was diagnosed as having AIDS and the band together made the decision to stop touring, making the concert at Knebworth on 9 August 1986 the last time that the four original members of Queen performed on stage together. The Knebworth concert is regarded as the pinnacle of the tour, and is often represented in photography by a frantic swarm of helicopters branded under the ‘magic’ emblem.

Over a million people attended the Queen tour, making it one of the largest ever. Support acts included The Alarm, The Bangles, Big Country, Belouis Some, INXS, Level 42, Marillion, Gary Moore, Status Quo, and Zeno.

Queen performed at Wembley Stadium on Friday, 11 July and Saturday, 12 July 1986. In preparation for the filming of the Saturday concert, director Gavin Taylor and his crew covered the Friday show as a technical rehearsal. The live rough cut made that night was released in full in the 25th Anniversary Edition of Queen – Live At Wembley Stadium in 2011. Before that around 30 minutes of the show were featured as bonus footage in the 2003 DVD release.

The Saturday concert was officially released on video in December 1990 as Queen at Wembley, with an 1 hour edit cut and as an album released on 26 May 1992. The full show was only officially released on DVD in 2003.

Hyde Park Concert | 1976 Drummer Roger Taylor at Queen’s free London concert. First Class

This concert took place on 18 September 1976 in Hyde Park, London. It was part of a brief summer tour of the UK by Queen; they also played in Edinburgh and Cardiff on this tour.

The Hyde Park gig was a free concert, which drew in a crowd of over 150,000, which was one of the largest audiences for any concert in London. The free concert was organised by Richard Branson, an entrepreneur at the time.

There is more than one audio source of this concert as well as a video. According to Roger Taylor, the drummer of Queen, the complete show was supposed to be shown on TV in early 1977 but was never aired. Since then, the footage has leaked out to collectors, though in terrible quality. Over the years, some of the footage has been shown in various documentaries and there are rumors of a future official release. The 2011 reissue of A Day at the Races includes a performance of “You Take My Breath Away” from this date.

The rest of the day’s music was provided by The Kiki Dee Band, Supercharge, The Rich Kids (not to be confused with Midge Ure’s band of the same name), Broken Wreck Chords and Steve Hillage. Elton John did not appear duetting with Kiki Dee for “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”. She sang to a 2/3 life-sized cardboard cut-out of Elton instead.

A post-concert review by Record Mirror linked the performance, and especially Brian May’s appearance and style, to the death of Jimi Hendrix, exactly six years earlier on 18 September 1970, but stating that “Queen aren’t Hendrix,…they’re Freddie Mercury.”

Queen | 1974 The full band photographed at Primrose Hill. First Class

A Night At The Opera Tour | 1975 Bassist John Deacon at the Hammersmith Odeon. £1.63

The A Night at the Opera Tour (advertised as A Night at the Opera with Queen) was a concert tour by Queen to promote A Night at the Opera. It spanned 1975 and 1976, and covered the UK, the US, Japan, and Australia. It marked the debut of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which would be played at every Queen gig thereafter.

The DVD A Night at the Odeon is taken from the Christmas Eve concert at the Hammersmith Odeon. “It’s quite something to watch”, said Brian May. “We were just a four-piece, but we made a lot of noise. I’m quite shocked at how good it was. We were incredibly tight and, at the same time – because we knew each other so well – very loose in terms of improvisation.”

During the tour, Queen played at London’s Hammersmith Odeon on 29-30 November and 1, 2, 3, and 24 December 1975.

Magic Tour | 1986 Guitarist Brian May at Népstadion in Budapest, Hungary. £1.63

From the Magic Tour, Queen have since released Live at Wembley on VHS, Laserdisc, CD and DVD, Live Magic on CD and Live in Budapest on VHS and Laserdisc (later re-released and retitled as Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest on DVD, Blu-ray and Deluxe editions).

Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest was filmed during Queen’s performance at the Népstadion in Budapest on 27 July 1986. Queen were one of the few bands from Western Europe to perform in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. The film had a limited release in theatres worldwide on 20 September 2012. The concert was released on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time on 5 November 2012 worldwide, except in the United States where it was released a day later. The concert title is a play on the Hungarian Rhapsodies by Franz Liszt and one of Queen’s most celebrated hits, “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Press Sheet:

The Queen Press Sheet contains 15 Miniature Sheets with four images of Queen performing live and the first ever Definitive-sized stamp featuring a full band photograph.

This unique souvenir has true collector appeal.

A limited edition of only 500.


Presentation Pack:

This fact-packed fold-out souvenir includes all eight mint Special Stamps depicting classic album covers and a Miniature Sheet containing four stamps that each contain a photo of the individual band members in concert plus a stamp featuring the whole group.

Respected rock journalist and biographer Jason Draper follows the band from its formation in 1970 to the untimely death of Freddie Mercury in 1991. He explains how their music evolved and their performances became bigger and bigger, managing to capture the zeitgeist through each decade.


Prestige Stamp Book:

A remarkable collectible packed with images, stamps and stories celebrating a record-breaking career.

The 24-page publication’s cover features the band’s crest, designed by Freddie Mercury before the release of their debut album. Veteran music journalist and biographer Jason Draper charts Queen’s story from formation to global music domination – with profiles of the band members, a synopsis of all their albums as well as a feature on the iconic videos they produced. It also touches on Queen’s legacy after Freddie’s death and explains the band’s enduring popularity, with each page suitably headlined with a lyric from one of their songs.

The Prestige Stamp Book contains all eight mint Special Stamps featuring a selection of their album covers in two exclusive panes. Two additional panes include the Queen Live Miniature Sheet stamps, four Definitive-sized stamps featuring the full band and four 1p stamps.


1st Class Stamp Book:

A Night At The Opera and Queen II First Class self-adhesive Special Stamps either side of four First Class Definitives.

The book has been printed in gravure and features a photograph of concert stage lighting.


Collector’s Sheet:

A unique souvenir to collect and treasure.

Eight classic Queen album covers appear on 10 self-adhesive Special Stamps alongside labels featuring group photos and images capturing live performances.

The A4 sheet includes the official Queen logo and a photograph of the band in the Tokyo Prince Hotel garden.


Queen Live Collector’s Sheet:

A unique souvenir to collect and treasure.

A collection of 10 Definitive-sized self-adhesive stamps featuring all four band members.

Alongside the stamps are labels capturing Queen at their majestic best ­– performing live in front of audiences around the world.

This A4 sheet also includes well-loved lyrics from some of their greatest hits, the official Queen logo and a close-up of the band in live action.


Greatest Hits Souvenir Pack:

Six mint £1.63 Greatest Hits stamps presented in a special carrier with a design complementing the album cover artwork.

The illustrated pack, written by acclaimed music journalist and biographer Jason Draper, focuses on a much-loved album featuring 17 iconic Queen tracks including Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, We are the Champions, Another One Bites the Dust, Killer Queen, Don’t Stop Me New, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Somebody to Love, Seven Seas of Rhye and Flash. No wonder Jason describes it as “…a one stop introduction to everything that made the band unique”.

This all-conquering compilation remains the UK’s best-selling album almost 40 years after its release, with more than six million copies sold.


Bohemian Rhapsody Special Pack:

The illustrated pack, written by acclaimed music journalist and biographer Jason Draper, explains how Queen II pushed the boundaries of convention with ambitious songs that were a masterful synthesis of different musical genre.

He also reveals the origins of A Night At The Opera and its standout track, Bohemian Rhapsody – part opera, part headbangers’ dream and all pure, unadulterated Queen.

It contains five Queen II and five A Night At The Opera mint First Class stamps presented in a special carrier bearing the official Queen crest, designed by Freddie Mercury. The Queen II album cover featuring a photograph taken by Mick Rock provided the inspiration for Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody video.


A Night At The Opera Fan Sheet:

Four pristine First Class A Night At The Opera gummed Special Stamps.

A vinyl record is depicted sliding out from the cover sleeve of Queen’s 1975 album.

This important recording, named after the 1935 Marx Brothers film, gave the band their first UK number one album and features the ground-breaking single Bohemian Rhapsody.

Individually numbered and a limited edition of just 5,000.


Queen Stamp Mount:

The eight Special Stamps featuring classic album covers and the Queen Live Miniature Sheet are set against a photograph of the band.

Handmade in the UK.

Perfect for framing.

Dimensions: 30cm x 20cm


First Day Covers:

An illustrated information card includes a brief synopsis of how Queen’s music evolved to attain phenomenal global success.

The decorative envelope depicts stage lighting and features the official Queen logo set against a backdrop of the band pictured for the cover of the chart-topping Bohemian Rhapsody single.

The special postmarks include lyrics from legendary rock mini opera Bohemian Rhapsody printed in gold ink.

The alternative postmark’s location is Knebworth – where all four band members last performed together in public – and contains the line ‘Any way the wind blows’.

The Tallents House postmark features ‘Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?’ from the legendary rock mini opera, Bohemian Rhapdody.

As a result of Covid-19 and the restrictions that were placed on individuals’ movements, Royal Mail took the decision at the end of March to extend its postmarking facilities for all Special Stamp issues until further notice. We promised that we would announce at the appropriate time when this extension would end and give customers sufficient notice of the cut-off period for accepting covers retrospectively. With these restrictions now being gradually eased throughout the UK we will revert to the normal postmarking rules from Thursday, 1st October. This means that the Queen First Day Covers will come off sale at midnight on that day.


PHQ Cards:

A set of 14 postcards.

Comprises each of the eight classic album covers and all five stamps featured on the Miniature Sheet as well as a composite image of the Miniature Sheet itself.

Perfect for collecting, framing or sending as postcards to Queen fans.


Silver Proof Coin and Cover:

Technical Specifications:

Coin description: Queen 2020 UK Half Ounce Silver Proof Coin
Designer: Chris Facey
Alloy: 999Ag Fine Silver
Production standard: Proof
Edge: Milled
Denomination: £1
Weight: 15.71g
Diameter: 27.00mm
Shape: Round
Spec reference: 2706

Each Coin Cover contains the Queen Live Miniature Sheet.

The Miniature Sheet is cancelled in gold ink with a Truro postmark and includes ‘We Will Rock You’ – the title of Queen’s most iconic anthem.

Comes with a £1 Silver Proof coin struck by The Royal Mint which depicts the band members’ various instruments – including a piano on which the first three bars of Bohemian Rhapsody are textured, giving the illusion that the keys are being pressed.

Packed with images, quotes and journalist Jason Draper’s reflections on how the scope of Queen’s music grew in tandem with the scale of their lives shows – culminating in their legendary Live Aid performance.

Limited edition of just 750.


Gold Proof Coin and Cover:

Technical Specifications:

Coin description: Queen 2020 UK Quarter Ounce Gold Proof Coin
Designer: Chris Facey
Alloy: 999.9Au Fine Gold
Production standard: Proof
Edge: Milled
Denomination: £25
Weight: 7.8g
Diameter: 22.00mm
Shape: Round
Spec reference: 2701

Each Coin Cover contains the Queen Live Miniature Sheet.

The Miniature Sheet is cancelled in gold ink with a Truro postmark and includes ‘We Will Rock You’ – the title of Queen’s most iconic anthem.

Comes with a £25 Gold Proof coin struck by The Royal Mint which depicts the band members’ various instruments – including a piano on which the first three bars of Bohemian Rhapsody are textured, giving the illusion that the keys are being pressed.

Packed with images, quotes and journalist Jason Draper’s reflections on how the scope of Queen’s music grew in tandem with the scale of their lives shows – culminating in their legendary Live Aid performance.

A limited edition of only 75.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.