1994 29c Blues and Jazz Singers: Robert Johnson

# 2857 - 1994 29c Blues and Jazz Singers: Robert Johnson

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US #2857
1994 Robert Johnson

  • Part of the Legends of American Music series
  • Set features eight Jazz and Blues singers from the 20th century

Category of Stamp:  Commemorative
Set: 
Jazz and Blues Singers, from the Legends of American Music series
Value: 
29¢, First-Class Mail rate
First Day of Issue: 
September 17, 1994
First Day City: 
Greenville, Mississippi
Quantity Issued: 
21,862,750
Printed by: 
Ashton-Potter
Printing Method:
  Lithographed
Format: 
Panes of 35 from printing plates of 210 (15 across, 14 down)
Perforations: 
11 X 10.8

Reason the stamp was issued:  The Jazz and Blues Singers stamps were issued as part of the Legends of American Music series.  They honor some of the most famous jazz and Blues singers of the 20th century.

About the stamp design:  The image on the Robert Johnson stamp was painted by first-time stamp artist Julian Allen.  There are only two known photographs of Johnson and both belong to his sister.  The one chosen as inspiration for the stamp was taken by Johnson in a dime-store booth in the early 1930s.  In the original photo, Johnson is smoking a cigarette.  Allen removed the cigarette and added a background resembling clapboard siding, a reflection of the singer’s rural roots. 
The Blues and Jazz Singers stamps were originally planned as two separate sets, and different artists were hired for each set.  When the two sets were combined into one, both artists continued with their assignments.  Magazine illustrator Julian Allen, was given the four blues singers, while Howard Koslow created the artwork for the jazz singers.  The USPS supplied photos of the singers to both artists, but they were dissatisfied with the way some of the singers were portrayed and found other sources.

First Day City:  The First Day of Issue ceremony for the set was held in Greenville, Mississippi, during the 17th annual Mississippi Delta Blues Festival.  Other cities also hosted First Day of Issue celebrations.  These included the hometowns of some of the featured singers.

About the Legends of American Music Series:  The Legends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993, and ran until September 21, 1999.  The stamps were issued in semi-jumbo size.  The name of each performer is in white letters, sometimes on a black background to make it stand out.  The name of the set is shown running up the left side of the stamp.
More than 90 artists are represented from all styles of music:  rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and pop, opera and classical, gospel and folk.  In addition to individual singers and Broadway musicals, subjects include band leaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, conductors, lyricists, and more.  The Legends of American Music Series was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored many Black and female artists.

History the stamp represents:  As a boy, Robert Johnson would sneak out of his house to see blues musicians perform.  Eventually Johnson became a capable harmonica player, but his guitar playing was lacking.  Then he ran away from home.  When he returned, his playing had improved dramatically, even impressing the men he once idolized.  But that was not all that changed.  Johnson had become a ladies’ man, and that, along with his lust for the nightlife and drinking, spelled trouble.
Johnson traversed the Mississippi Delta, where he was heard by many young musicians, such as Muddy Waters, who would later show his influence.  In 1936 and ’37 Johnson recorded a total of 29 songs, considered among the most important early blues recordings, and still treasured by blues connoisseurs and musicologists alike.
Many of Johnson’s tunes like “Hell Hound on My Trail,” and “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day,” dealt with dark subjects.  He sang with a tense voice which, combined with his slide guitar playing, produced a thrilling effect.  In 1938, which was the prime of his life, Johnson was slipped a glass of poisoned whiskey while performing.  Johnson was 27 years old when he died; however, his music will live forever.

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US #2857
1994 Robert Johnson

  • Part of the Legends of American Music series
  • Set features eight Jazz and Blues singers from the 20th century

Category of Stamp:  Commemorative
Set: 
Jazz and Blues Singers, from the Legends of American Music series
Value: 
29¢, First-Class Mail rate
First Day of Issue: 
September 17, 1994
First Day City: 
Greenville, Mississippi
Quantity Issued: 
21,862,750
Printed by: 
Ashton-Potter
Printing Method:
  Lithographed
Format: 
Panes of 35 from printing plates of 210 (15 across, 14 down)
Perforations: 
11 X 10.8

Reason the stamp was issued:  The Jazz and Blues Singers stamps were issued as part of the Legends of American Music series.  They honor some of the most famous jazz and Blues singers of the 20th century.

About the stamp design:  The image on the Robert Johnson stamp was painted by first-time stamp artist Julian Allen.  There are only two known photographs of Johnson and both belong to his sister.  The one chosen as inspiration for the stamp was taken by Johnson in a dime-store booth in the early 1930s.  In the original photo, Johnson is smoking a cigarette.  Allen removed the cigarette and added a background resembling clapboard siding, a reflection of the singer’s rural roots. 
The Blues and Jazz Singers stamps were originally planned as two separate sets, and different artists were hired for each set.  When the two sets were combined into one, both artists continued with their assignments.  Magazine illustrator Julian Allen, was given the four blues singers, while Howard Koslow created the artwork for the jazz singers.  The USPS supplied photos of the singers to both artists, but they were dissatisfied with the way some of the singers were portrayed and found other sources.

First Day City:  The First Day of Issue ceremony for the set was held in Greenville, Mississippi, during the 17th annual Mississippi Delta Blues Festival.  Other cities also hosted First Day of Issue celebrations.  These included the hometowns of some of the featured singers.

About the Legends of American Music Series:  The Legends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993, and ran until September 21, 1999.  The stamps were issued in semi-jumbo size.  The name of each performer is in white letters, sometimes on a black background to make it stand out.  The name of the set is shown running up the left side of the stamp.
More than 90 artists are represented from all styles of music:  rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and pop, opera and classical, gospel and folk.  In addition to individual singers and Broadway musicals, subjects include band leaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, conductors, lyricists, and more.  The Legends of American Music Series was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored many Black and female artists.

History the stamp represents:  As a boy, Robert Johnson would sneak out of his house to see blues musicians perform.  Eventually Johnson became a capable harmonica player, but his guitar playing was lacking.  Then he ran away from home.  When he returned, his playing had improved dramatically, even impressing the men he once idolized.  But that was not all that changed.  Johnson had become a ladies’ man, and that, along with his lust for the nightlife and drinking, spelled trouble.
Johnson traversed the Mississippi Delta, where he was heard by many young musicians, such as Muddy Waters, who would later show his influence.  In 1936 and ’37 Johnson recorded a total of 29 songs, considered among the most important early blues recordings, and still treasured by blues connoisseurs and musicologists alike.
Many of Johnson’s tunes like “Hell Hound on My Trail,” and “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day,” dealt with dark subjects.  He sang with a tense voice which, combined with his slide guitar playing, produced a thrilling effect.  In 1938, which was the prime of his life, Johnson was slipped a glass of poisoned whiskey while performing.  Johnson was 27 years old when he died; however, his music will live forever.