1993 Country & Western
Legends of American Music Series
- Celebrates members of the Country Music Hall of Fame
- Part of the Legends of American Music Series
Country Music Legends
Legends of American Music
29¢, First Class Mail Rate
First Day of Issue:
September 25, 1993
First Day City:
100,000,000 (Includes booklet stamps and panes of 4)
Photogravure (Printed on a Champlain webfed gravure press)
Pane of 20 (horizontal, 4 across, 5 down)
10.1 x 10.2 (sheetfed stroke perforator)
Why the stamp was issued:
These stamps were issued to honor country music legends, and members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, the Carter Family, and Bob Wills.
About the stamp design:
All four Country & Western stamps picture artwork by Richard Waldrep. The designs were created using Waldrep’s airbrush paintings based on photographs sent to him by USPS researchers. Both the Hank Williams and Carter Family stamps have orange backgrounds while the Patsy Cline stamp has a blue-violet background and the Bob Wills stamp has a variegated background shifting from mauve to fuchsia.
First Day City:
The Country & Western set was issued on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, the capital of country music. There could be no better place for the First Day Issue Ceremony of the stamps honoring members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
About the Legends of American Music Series:
The Legends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993, and ran until September 21, 1999. 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 stamps represent:
The four-stamp set was issued to commemorate a handful of the men and women whose contributions to country and western music made history. The set pictures Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, the Carter Family, and Bob Wills. The Hank Williams stamp was the same design used earlier in 1993. Each person pictured in the Country & Western set has the designation of being listed in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
History of the individual musicians/groups pictured:
A good ol’ farm boy from the heart of Alabama, Hank Williams taught himself to play the guitar when he was 8 years old. In 1936, at the age of 13, he formed his own band, the “Drifting Cowboys.”
In 1947, Williams moved to Nashville – the recording and broadcasting center of country music. There, he introduced the country music world to a style that would later become known as “rockabilly” – a precursor to rock ‘n’ roll blended with a country flair. With hits such as “Move It On Over” and “Honky Tonkin’” he gained instant popularity, and his performances on the “Grand Ole Opry” program, broadcast nationally every Saturday night, catapulted him to stardom.
Although Williams’ style changed country and western music forever, his lasting legacy may be his lyrics. He wrote literally hundreds of hits, offering country music some of his most enduring songs, including “Cold, Cold Heart,” “Jambalaya,” and “Ramblin’ Man.” “Your Cheatin’ Heart” has been recorded by at least fifty people.
Williams’ son, Hank Williams Jr., was also a country singer and composer, carrying on his father’s legacy.
Born Virginia Patterson Hensley, Patsy Cline began her career performing in local clubs as a teenager. Yearning to make it big, she tried to break onto the Nashville scene in 1948. Unsuccessful in her attempt, she would wait nearly a decade before her dream came true. In 1957, her performance of “Walking After Midnight” not only won her first place in Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scout Contest, but also made record executives sit up and take notice of her.
Her recording of the song, made later that year for Decca Records, climbed to the top of the country charts and earned her a place on the pop charts – a feat far less common that it is today, especially for a female vocalist. Other top-selling releases soon followed including “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” and “She’s Got You.” In the late 50s she moved to Nshville to join the Grand Ole Opry. Her unforgettable voice and pop-oriented recordings greatly increased the popularity of country music, which had taken a backseat to rock ‘n’ roll.
Her brilliant career ended in 1963, when her plane crashed near Camden, Tennessee. Even after her death, however, her single releases continued to sell well into the 1960s, and her performances still inspire female country artists even today.
The Carter Family
Originally formed in 1926, the Carter Family was one of the most influential groups in the country music field – one that greatly affected succeeding generations of performers.
When A.P. Carter married Sara Dougherty in 1915, the two made a natural duet. Gathering Appalachian folk music and arranging it for performances, as well as creating new songs, the two entertained family and friends. Maybelle Carter, who had married A.P.’s brother Ezra, joined the pair in 1926. The following year the newly formed trio traveled to Bristol to audition for Victor (later RCA Victor). Out of those who were lucky enough to be paid $50 per recorded song rose two of country music’s most promising stars – the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers.
The Carters’ music appealed to many rural Americans, and broadcasts over radio stations helped increase their popularity. During the late 1930s and early 40s, other family members joined the trio, and in 1943 the original threesome disbanded.
Teaming up with her three talented daughters, Anita, June, and Helen, Maybelle kept the family tradition alive. The legend later lived on through June and her husband Johnny Cash as well as other family members.
Born into a family of old-time fiddlers, it was only natural that music would play an important role in Bob Wills’s life. Although he pursued various occupations including farming, barbering, and preaching, Wills eventually went on to become a full-time musician.
Hired to fiddle with the Fort Worth Doughboys, Wills made his first recording with the group in 1932 for RCA Victor. The following year he split from the Doughboys with his banjo-playing brother Johnnie Lee and vocalist Tommie Duncan to form his own group which became known as the Texas Playboys. For eight years they performed on a Tulsa, Oklahoma radio station, eventually gaining national popularity.
Combining the sounds of fiddling, blues, pop, big-band swing, and Mexican folk music he created a new pop-country style known as western swing. His recordings for American Record Company and Columbia, such as “San Antonio Rose,” “Take Me Back to Tulsa,” “Faded Love,” and the “Spanish Two Step,” appealed to a far broader audience than old-time fiddling attracted. And as western swing gained popularity, Wills’ name became a household word. Despite his failing health throughout much of the 1960s he appeared for his induction into the Country Hall of Music in 1968.