Janis Joplin, the groundbreaking singer whose powerful, bluesy voice propelled her to the pinnacle of rock stardom, was honored by the U.S. Postal Service by adding her to the Music Icons Forever Stamp series during a first-day-of-issue ceremony at the Outside Lands Music Festival at Golden Gate Park.
Joplin is recognized as one of the greatest rock singers of all time, as well as a pioneer who paved the way for other women in rock music. Joplin broke onto the national music scene at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Her time at the top, however brief, still resonates and influences countless artists.
She recorded three hit albums and performed at Woodstock. The album she was recording at the time of her death, Pearl, went on to cement her reputation as one of the greatest rock singers of all time. “Me and Bobby McGee,” written by Kris Kristofferson, became the second posthumous no.1 hit in history after Otis Redding’s no. 1 hit, (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay.
As the years passed, Joplin’s legacy was increasingly recognized. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Rolling Stone included Joplin on its list of 100 Greatest Artists. Some of her most popular songs include Piece of My Heart, Ball and Chain and Cry Baby.
“Today we salute an American original, Janis Joplin,” said Megan Brennan, chief operating officer and executive vice president. “I am honored to dedicate this stamp to pay tribute to one of the most important musicians of the 20th century.”
The Janis Joplin Forever Stamp is the fifth in the Postal Service’s Music Icons series. Through the power of stamps, Joplin joins a list of other American music icons: Lydia Mendoza, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix.
“I am happy for Janis that her image stands strong, representing the power, artistry and independence of women,” said Joplin’s sister, Laura Joplin, in reflecting on the issuance of this stamp. “As a rock and roll icon of the turbulent 1960’s era, Janis’s inclusion helps remind us of the positive strength of an era devoted to peace, love and — as Janis said — ‘Be True to Yourself.'”
The artwork for this stamp was designed by Art director Antonio Alcala of Alexandria, VA, and features a June 1970 portrait of Janis Joplin taken in New York City by renowned music photographer David Gahr.
The original black and white photograph is rendered in shades of blue, with Joplin’s trademark round sunglasses tinted a dark shade of pink. The words “Janis Joplin,” along with the “Forever” denomination and “USA” appear in psychedelic-style script reminiscent of the 1960s, in shades of gold, orange, and pink. Small blue stars pop out from the stamp’s dark blue background.
The stamp pane evokes the appearance of a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. One side of the pane includes the stamps and the image of a sliver of a record visible at the top. A photograph taken by noted photographer, creative director and designer Bruce Steinberg of Queens, NY, in May 1968 at the First International San Jose Pop Festival, and the logo for the Music Icons series appear on the reverse side, along with the words “Janis Joplin Blues, Rock, Country, Soul, Folk.”
Customers may purchase the Janis Joplin stamps as a pane of 16 at usps.com/stamps, the Postal Store, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide. This stamp and a variety of other stamps and related collectibles are available at ebay.com/stamps.