Jimi Hendrix finally got his likeness on a postage stamp. These stamps went on sale Thursday, March 13th at post offices all over the U.S. Jimi should have had his own stamp years ago. You can't say they didn't want to give Jimi a stamp because of his drug use, because so many artists have already been the subject of postage stamps who were known drug users. People like Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, The Beatles, and Elvis Presley all have postage stamps in their honor. Elvis went on to become the best selling stamp in U.S. history. In fact, they are planning on honoring Elvis again.
To be honest, the USPS is a business, and they have been hemorrhaging money. Why not make stamps that people want to buy? Why not choose the coolest and most iconic pictures to represent the artists that people love? The Elvis stamp was even put to a vote by postal customers. When you go back and look at stamps that have appeared over the years, the visuals are stunning. Think of all the people that have Oscars and Grammys. There are some people who have won that many would not associate with greatness. Now, think of people who have been the subject of a postal stamp. You have hit legendary status when you are the subject of a U.S. stamp.
I said all of that to lament the image that was used of Jimi for his stamp. Some people like it, but lots of people wish that an actual image of Jimi was used. I have to say rather bluntly, that I am very disappointed at the choice of imagery. We all know that Jimi was a psychedelic kind of guy, but this cartoon does not look like Jimi. It doesn't capture his emotions or personality. I have heard some people say that the image looks like Carlos Santana, Lamont from Sanford and Son, and other people who don't look like Jimi.
Jimi's adopted step sister, Janie Hendrix actually gave the postal committee some images for them to consider, but they came up with the image we see before us (Was Dr. Azziz on this committee?)(inside Augusta joke). It is really shocking that Janie Hendrix, who prides herself as a gatekeeper of Jimi's legacy, would stand for less than the best, when it comes to Jimi's image. This is the same Janie that did not want to let the new Jimi movie with Andre 3000 (All is by My Side) use Jimi's music. This is the same Janie that is a super control freak. The stamp appropriately says FOREVER. This is the image that younger generations will see their parents and grandparents collecting. Those who are true connoisseurs of Jimi photos can immediately think of many photos that would have made a lasting impression on younger generations.
I don't want to end this article on a negative note, so I'll find a silver lining in the clouds. Jimi Hendrix was not just one of the greatest guitarists of all time, he was THE GREATEST guitarist of all time. He changed the way people hear music. He was on the cusp of merging several genres of music to create musical compositions on par with the classics of Mozart and Beethoven!! When you hear modern guitar today, you hear Jimi Hendrix. Never has there been such a powerful force, that did in 4 years, what no one has been able to duplicate since. Jimi Hendrix is more than deserving of a stamp. I hope he gets another run like Elvis. I guess Public Enemy may have to change those lyrics: None of my heroes don't appear on no stamp! Congratulations Jimi! Your real family Leon and Tina Hendrix must be proud of you.