1995 Erroll Garner
- Issued in the Legends of American Music Series
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Legends of American Music Series
Value: 32c First-Class postage rate
First Day of Issue: September 16, 1995
First Day Cities: Monterey, California
Quantity Issued: 150,000,000
Printed by: Sterling Sommer in Tonawanda, NY for Ashton-Potter
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
Perforations: 11.1 x 10.9
Why the stamps were issued: They were issued as part of the new Legends of American Music Series to honor jazz and the instrumentalist and composers who made it popular. Each stamp satisfied the First-Class postage rate.
About the stamp design: The stamp was designed by Dean Mitchell who designed six of the #2983-2992 Jazz Musicians pane. Art direction was by Howard Paine.
About The Set: The Legends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993 and ran until 1999. More than 70 artists are represented from all styles of music: rock and 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 bandleaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, plus conductors and lyricists.
The Legends of American Music Set was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored many Black and female artists.
The 29c “young Elvis” – #2721, kicked off the series in a big and very public way. Its design was voted on by over one million Americans, about 75% of whom favored the young Elvis over the “old Elvis” version.
History the stamp represents:
Pianist and songwriter Erroll Garner was born June 15, 1921. Blessed with a natural talent, he began playing the piano by ear at age three. Although he never received any formal training, and was never able to read or write music, Garner was able to play any song – even if he had heard it only once!
Garner started performing with local bands in 1937. He moved to New York City at age 23 and began playing clubs on 52nd Street, including the Three Deuces and Tondelayo’s. His unique piano styling was featured on recordings by the Slam Stewart Trio before he recorded under his own name with a bassist and drummer. From 1945 to 1949, Garner made a number of records on a freelance basis before signing an exclusive contract with Columbia Records. In 1948 he performed at the Paris Jazz Festival.
Garner’s music appealed to non-jazz audiences, and he enjoyed great success in the late 1950s. He toured Europe in 1957 and ’58. His most famous song, “Misty,” was a big hit in 1959 and enjoyed a resurgence in 1971, when it became the theme song for the Clint Eastwood film “Play Misty For Me.” He is also remembered for the songs “Misty,” “Dreamy,” “How High the Moon,” and “I Got the World on a String,” and “Oh Lady Be Good.”