Royal Mail stamps: Paul McCartney

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Royal Mail celebrate the post-Beatles career of Sir Paul McCartney with eight special stamps recreating album artwork, and a four-stamp miniature sheet showing photos of the singer songwriter in the studio.

The main stamp set features a selection of eight LPs which have defined Paul McCartney’s career after The Beatles split up, as follows:

  • McCartney (1970)
  • RAM (1971)
  • Venus and Mars (Wings, 1975)
  • McCartney II (1980)
  • Tug of War (1982)
  • Flaming Pie (1997)
  • Egypt Station (2018)
  • McCartney III (2020)

Miniature sheet: McCartney in the studio

The remaining four stamps, presented in a miniature sheet, feature photographs spanning three decades of Paul in the studio, recording for some of the albums featured in the main stamp set.

Royal Mail collaborated closely with Paul and his team at MPL Communications Ltd. on the collection – with Paul having personal involvement in the images used and the wider product range created for the issue.

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About Sir Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney is an icon of 20th and 21st century popular music.

He is recognised by Guinness World Records as ‘the most successful songwriter of all time’ having written or co-written 188 charted records in the UK, of which 91 reached the top 10 and 33 reached No.1.  He is the most successful albums act in UK Official Chart history and has been awarded more than 60 gold discs.
 
In the USA he has composed 32 No.1 singles and is a 21-time Grammy award winner. 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the release of RAM, and the formation of the band Wings, which achieved huge success as one of the biggest selling acts of the 1970s - with 27 US top 40 hits, and five consecutive No.1 albums.
 
The 1977 Wings’ single, Mull of Kintyre, remains one of the UK’s biggest selling non-charity singles.
 
Paul McCartney is one of only three individual music artists to be featured in a dedicated stamp issue; the others being David Bowie (2017) and Elton John (2019).


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The eight Paul McCartney albums in detail

McCartney
A clean break from The Beatles and as far from the production extravaganza of their final album Abbey Road as you can get, Paul McCartney’s solo debut was recorded mostly in his living room, with its author playing every instrument.

The sound of a brilliant musical mind throwing out random ideas – and finding they all work – still sounds compelling 50 years on, with its loose patchwork of songs, fragments of songs, instrumentals and experiments.

RAM
More professionally recorded than McCartney’s debut, RAM nevertheless shared its charming, homespun feel. Credited to Paul and Linda McCartney, RAM took in everything from the gentle, ukulele-driven ‘Ram On’ to the hard-rocking ‘Smile Away’ and the experimental song suite ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’, the latter an unexpected US No.1.

The closing ‘The Back Seat of My Car’ defines the adjective ‘McCartneyesque’ – impossibly melodically rich, apparently effortless song-writing.

Venus and Mars
Venus and Mars’s ‘Rock Show’ is a paean to the kind of huge stadium gigs that McCartney’s 1970s band Wings would help pioneer: their ensuing world tour became one of the mid-1970s’ most celebrated musical events. Partly recorded in New Orleans, Venus and Mars captures Wings at their zenith: a supremely polished band operating on the cusp of pop and rock, mixing hits – ‘Listen to What the Man Said’ – with more whimsical ideas, among them a cover of the theme from TV soap Crossroads.

Album: McCartney
A clean break from The Beatles and as far from the production extravaganza of their final album Abbey Road as you can get, Paul McCartney’s solo debut was recorded mostly in his living room, with its author playing every instrument.
The sound of a brilliant musical mind throwing out random ideas – and finding they all work – still sounds compelling 50 years on, with its loose patchwork of songs, fragments of songs, instrumentals and experiments.
 

Album: RAM
More professionally recorded than McCartney’s debut, RAM nevertheless shared its charming, homespun feel. Credited to Paul and Linda McCartney, RAM took in everything from the gentle, ukulele-driven ‘Ram On’ to the hard-rocking ‘Smile Away’ and the experimental song suite ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’, the latter an unexpected US No.1.
The closing ‘The Back Seat of My Car’ defines the adjective ‘McCartneyesque’ – impossibly melodically rich, apparently effortless song-writing.
 

Album: Venus and Mars
Venus and Mars’s ‘Rock Show’ is a paean to the kind of huge stadium gigs that McCartney’s 1970s band Wings would help pioneer: their ensuing world tour became one of the mid-1970s’ most celebrated musical events. Partly recorded in New Orleans, Venus and Mars captures Wings at their zenith: a supremely polished band operating on the cusp of pop and rock, mixing hits – ‘Listen to What the Man Said’ – with more whimsical ideas, among them a cover of the theme from TV soap Crossroads.

McCartney II
Once more recorded at home and greeted with bafflement on release, McCartney II eventually assumed its rightful place as one of its author’s most celebrated solo albums. McCartney threw himself into experiments, largely driven by synthesisers and drum machines, that ranged from the funky (‘Temporary Secretary’ or ‘Coming Up’) to the flatly bizarre (‘Bogey Music’).

The same sessions produced ‘Wonderful Christmastime’, a perennial favourite of the festive season.
 
Tug of War
Produced by George Martin after the break-up of Wings, the global chart-topper Tug of War is a song-writing masterclass. ‘Ebony and Ivory’ and ‘Take It Away’ were the big hits and the reflective tribute to the late John Lennon ‘Here Today’ perhaps its most enduring moment, but the album is densely packed with fantastic tracks, the supremely funky Stevie Wonder collaboration ‘What’s That You’re Doing?’ and the gorgeous ballad ‘Wanderlust’ among them.

Flaming Pie
Inspired by the years spent working on The Beatles’ Anthology and mostly co-produced by Jeff Lynne – who had also worked on ‘new’ Beatles songs ‘Free as a Bird’ and ‘Real Love’ – and featuring a rare co-writing credit for Ringo Starr, Flaming Pie saw McCartney strip back his sound, a move that allowed an extremely strong, occasionally understated set of songs to flourish. Poignantly, Flaming Pie is also the last McCartney album to feature the backing vocals of Linda McCartney, who died the following year.

Egypt Station
In 2018, Paul McCartney unexpectedly teamed up with Adele producer Greg Kurstin and – on ‘Fuh You’ – blue-chip pop songwriter Ryan Tedder. But Egypt Station is not a straightforward lunge for latter-day pop contemporaneity: it is an impressively varied album, which switches between the raucous stomp of ‘Come on to Me’, the troubled, reflective ‘I Don’t Know’ and ‘Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link’, the latest in a long line of McCartney tracks that segue different song fragments together in a thrillingly episodic whole.

McCartney III
Inspired by the circumstances of lockdown to return to the home-studio, one-man-band approach of the previous albums in the McCartney series, McCartney III unexpectedly appeared at the end of 2020, a critically lauded collection of songs that ranged from acoustic ballads to tough rock and roll. The experimental spirit of its predecessors in the McCartney series was underlined by its lengthy instrumental opener, ‘Long Tailed Winter Bird’, and the powerful, episodic eight minutes of ‘Deep Deep Feeling’.