The legend of Johnny Cash continues to expand, and as evidence, the iconic performer will gain his very own U.S. postage stamp later this year as part of the postal service's "Music Icon" series.
According to Mark Saunders, a rep for the U.S. Postal Service, "The Man in Black" will the first of three performers who will have stamps issued in the series, with the ID of the other two to be revealed later this year.
Per information from the Web-based BeyondthePerf.com, which is an extension of the USAPhilatelic catalog, Cash's stamp will feature a black 'n' white photo, circa 1963, of the artist that was snapped by Frank Bez for Cash's "Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash," a greatest-hits compilation.
Fittingly, the "Forever" stamp, which will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate. reportedly has been designed to mimic the record sleeve of a 45 rpm, with the legend's trademark "brooding" gaze looking out through a thin, shadowy veil, compliments of Greg Breeding, the stamp's art director and designer.
According to a Jan. 29 article in USA Today, the selection process for deciding who or what will be featured on a U.S. postage stamp is a long one.
"We get about 40,000 suggestions for stamp ideas each year," USPS spokesman Saunders said, "but only about 20 topics make the cut. These suggestions are reviewed by the Postmaster General’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory, whose role is to narrow down that 40,000 to roughly 20, and then provide their recommendations to the Postmaster General for final approval."
Nonetheless, if it's music legends the USPS wants to honor, the Arkansas-born Cash is the ideal candidate to debut the "Music Icon" series. In fact, the postal service may want to consider creating an iconic stamp series just for the Cash clan, with Johnny's stamp leading to way, for there's no shortage of music greats in his family thanks to his late wife, June Carter Cash, as well as traditional-country hit-maker Tommy Cash, his brother; gospel artist Joanne Cash Yates, his sister; and daughter Rosanne Cash, to name a sampling.
At this writing, there is no official release date for Cash's "Forever" stamp, but expect it to be highly collectible and a favorite of all music fans, no matter their genre of preference. The appeal of Cash, who is a member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is enduring and universal.
- Video bonus: To see an overview of the Grammy-winning Cash's life, from his humble beginnings to his 2003 death, please access the clip embedded with this post.