07 September 2023
Royal Mail have revealed images of 12 Special Stamps being issued to celebrate the musical icon Dame Shirley Bassey, 70 years on from the start of her career in 1953.
This is the first time Royal Mail has dedicated an entire stamp issue to a solo female music artist. Solo artists previously honoured with a dedicated stamp issue are:
- David Bowie (2017)
- Sir Elton John (2019)
- Sir Paul McCartney (2021)
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Eight stamps in the main set capture some of her spellbinding performances from her illustrious career:
- At the Pigalle nightclub, 1965
- In Bournemouth, 1974
- At the BBC Electric Proms, The Roundhouse, 2009
- At the Safeway Picnic in the Park, 2002
- In Brighton, 1988
- On a TV show, 1963
- Singing ‘World in Union’ (with Bryn Terfel) during the Opening Ceremony of the Rugby World Cup, 1999
- Performing during the Oscars held at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood, 2013
An additional sheet of four stamps features a selection of photographs taken of Dame Shirley during recording sessions and rehearsal sessions during her career.
Born in 1937 in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Dame Shirley toured theatres and revues until she signed a record deal with Philips and scored the number one hit, 'As I Love You', in 1959.
By the 1960s, she was an international star with numerous hit albums spanning contemporary pop, show tunes and soundtracks. Some of her greatest work was with film composer John Barry, creating the James Bond themes 'Goldfinger', Diamonds Are Forever' and ‘Moonraker', which became her signature songs.
In the 1990s and 2000s, she attracted a whole new audience, performing the official song for the 1999 Rugby World Cup with Bryn Terfel and attending the 2007 Glastonbury Festival in diamante wellington boots. She was awarded a CBE in 1994 and a DBE in 1999.
Dame Shirley Bassey said:
"I am absolutely thrilled and would never have dreamed that one day my face would be on a stamp...that one day a letter might arrive and there I am, with a postmark next to me!
“It's an absolute honour to be the first solo female artist to receive a collection from Royal Mail. The stamps are wonderful, and I hope my fans & collectors love them as much as I do."
The stamps are available to pre-order from www.royalmail.com/shirleybassey. The stamps go on general sale on 21 September.