News / Arts & Entertainment

US Postal Service Unveils Music Icon Stamp Series

U.S. Postal Service Music Icon stamp series - Lydia Mendoza
U.S. Postal Service Music Icon stamp series - Lydia Mendoza
Katherine Cole
Earlier this year, the U.S. postal service revealed plans for a new stamp set called Music Icons. The series shines the spotlight on three American originals.

The first issue in the Music Icon series honored Lydia Mendoza, a pioneer of Tejano music, the style that comes from the Texas-Mexico border area.

Lydia Mendoza was 18 years old when she walked into a San Antonio studio and recorded “Mal Hombre” or “Evil Man” in 1934. Known as the “Lark of the Border,” she continued performing into her 70s, and would record more than a thousand songs.  “Mal Hombre” was her biggest hit and even had a bit of resurgence a few years ago after it was used in the soundtrack to Jeff Bridge’s Oscar winning film “Crazy Heart.”

x
The art for her stamp uses an old publicity photo of a smiling Mendoza holding her 12-string guitar. The Texas state flag is superimposed over the singer and the stamp looks much like an old, worn, record cover.

Actor Jesse Borrego, a San Antonio native, was the master of ceremonies at the Lydia Mendoza stamp unveiling.  He says the new stamp helps to cement the legacy that Latinos have had in the United States.  

“It shows what we represent in terms of being Americans and being from the First World," he said. "So I think commemorating someone like Lydia Mendoza and having her be the kickoff to this musical series that includes the likes of Johnny Cash and Ray Charles is very important for us because it really shows how we are true Americans.  And how important we are. Especially when it comes to something as important as a postage stamp, which lives on forever.”

US Postal Service Unveils Music Icon Stamp Series
US Postal Service Unveils Music Icon Stamp Seriesi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Johnny Cash, the country music superstar who was known as “The Man In Black,” is featured on the second stamp in the Music Icon series. That stamp features artwork based on a promo photo for his 1963 greatest hits collection “Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash.”

The Cash stamp was unveiled this month, coinciding with the opening of a new Johnny Cash museum in Nashville, Tennessee. To celebrate the stamp, an all-star revue of country musicians performed at the Ryman Auditorium, as the singer’s son, John Carter Cash, explains:

x
“Basically the ‘mother church of country music’ is what it’s known as. It’s where the original Grand Ol’ Opry was," he said. "There was an unveiling and a great musical show. It included The Oak Ridge Boys, Jamey Johnson, Marty Stuart, Randy Travis, Larry Gatlin, my sister Carlene Carter was there, and some other great performers and dear friends.”

Kathy Cash, one of Johnny Cash’s daughters from his first marriage, spoke at the ceremony. She told the crowd that during her parents’ courtship, her father was serving in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Germany. She estimated that her parents exchanged more than 10,000 letters during those years. John Carter Cash says that letter-writing tradition continued for the rest of his father’s life. And while the younger Cash often relies on email, it’s not likely he’ll step up to the post office counter and buy anything but a Johnny Cash stamp.

“No, I never will," he said. "I’ve already bought so many sheets that I’ll probably send out every bill for the next 30 years with this stamp!”

This isn’t the first time the U.S. Postal Service has issued music stamps. The Legends of American Music series began in 1993 with an Elvis stamp and went on to honor Broadway and film composers, jazz and blues artists, big bands, opera singers and more. There have also been stamps honoring Latin music legends, gospel singers and folk musicians. And there is one more to come in the Music Icon series this year. A Ray Charles stamp will be released in September.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."