The latest in Royal Mail’s ongoing Music Giants series, issued on July 9, celebrates Queen, one of Britain’s most successful rock bands.

Eight counter-sheet stamps illustrate the covers of a selection of their most popular albums, in their golden age from 1974-91.

The accompanying Queen Live miniature sheet of five stamps features four photographic images of live performances, one focusing on each band member, and one promotional group shot.

Queen started performing under the name Smile in 1970, which makes this year their 50th anniversary. The well-known four-piece line-up formed in 1971, and continued until the death of lead singer Freddie Mercury in 1991; the band still exists today, but with only two of its original members.

Queen have sold more than 300 million records worldwide across five decades. They were originally known as a progressive rock band, but migrated towards pop rock, and few musicians can match the creative breadth of their output. The theatricality of their music found a natural outlet in extravagant stage shows, but they were also pioneers of the music video.

Designed by Royal Mail Group, based on concepts by Studio Dempsey (sheet stamps) and Baxter & Bailey (miniature sheet), the issue was printed in litho by International Security Printers. The sheet stamps come in se-tenent strips of four.

 

1st class Queen II

Released in 1973, the band’s second album, Queen II, gave them their first top-ten hit, Seven Seas of Rhye.

1st class Sheer Heart Attack

Released in 1974, Sheer Heart Attack included the single Killer Queen, which was Queen’s first global hit.

1st class A Night at the Opera

Released in 1975, A Night At The Opera was the band’s first number-one album, and featured Bohemian Rhapsody, the ground-breaking combination of ballad, opera and hard rock that became one of the biggest selling singles in British history.

1st class News of the World

Released in 1977, News of the World featured two stadium-filling anthems, We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions.

£1.63 The Game

Released in 1980, The Game drew in new audiences and included the hit singles Another One Bites The Dust and Crazy Little Thing Called Love

£1.63 Greatest Hits

Released in 1981, the Greatest Hits compilation is the biggest selling album of all time in the UK.

£1.63 The Works

Released in 1984, The Works featured more hit singles, including Radio Ga Ga and I Want To Break Free.

£1.63 Innuendo

Released in 1991, and the final album to be recorded in Mercury’s lifetime, Innuendo featured the poignant These Are The Days Of Our Lives.

 

MINIATURE SHEET

1st class MAGIC TOUR 1986

Lead singer Freddie Mercury on stage at Wembley Stadium in London.

1st class HYDE PARK CONCERT 1976

Drummer Roger Taylor on stage at Hyde Park in London.

1st class QUEEN

Group photograph by Johnny Dewe Mathews, from Queen’s first studio photoshoot in 1974.

£1.63 A NIGHT AT THE OPERA TOUR 1975

Bass guitarist John Deacon on stage at Hammersmith Odeon in London.

£1.63 MAGIC TOUR 1986

Lead guitarist Brian May on stage at the Nepstadion in Budapest, Hungary.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

Written by journalist Jason Draper, the presentation pack charts Queen’s meteoric rise to global fame, with a profile of each band member and a review of their albums, tours and videos.

Also available are a limited-edition press sheet of 15 uncut miniature sheets, the usual first day covers and stamp cards, and a wide range of souvenir products.

 

PRICES

Set of 8 stamps   £9.56

Miniature sheet   £5.54

Press sheet   £91.40

Presentation pack   £16.00

Stamp cards   £6.30

First day cover (stamps)   £12.15

First day cover (mini sheet)   £7.30

Coin covers   from £19.95

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   3/5

Queen are a British success story, well worthy of inclusion in the Music Giants series

QUALITY OF DESIGN   2/5

As throughout this series, the stamps rely on the quality of the original album cover artwork

WOW FACTOR   2/5

Fans of the band will stop and take a closer look, if they see these stamps used in the mail