The U.S. Postal Service will take center stage on the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Butler Park with the dedication of the Jimi Hendrix Forever Stamp.
Widely recognized as one of the most creative and influential musicians of the 20th century, Hendrix displayed an innovative style that embraced the influences of rock, R&B, modern jazz and the blues, inspiring musical artists of his era and beyond. Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, WA, Nov. 27, 1942. Originally named Johnny Allen Hendrix, his name was later changed by his father to James Marshall Hendrix. Entirely self-taught, he had to adjust his first right-handed guitar to his left-handed playing; he restrung it upside down and turned the instrument around to play it. The teenager soon began playing with bands in the Seattle area.
Hendrix pushed the boundaries of what a guitar could do, using a basic setup that at times included a wah-wah pedal to control the output from the amplifier to produce voice-like tones; a fuzz-box to create distortion of the sound; and a Univibe, a phaser that created regular, pulsating changes of pitch, all channeled through a set of Marshall amplifiers at top volume. He was able to manipulate the various devices to produce sounds that could be loud — the quintessential psychedelic music — or melodic and gentle. A master at the controlled use of distortion and feedback, he expanded the instrument’s vocabulary in a way that had never been heard before — or since.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the U.K. Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Rolling Stone ranked Hendrix No. 1 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, and No. 6 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
In 1991, Hendrix received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 1993, he was awarded a posthumous Grammy for lifetime achievement.
“Combining influences from rock, modern jazz, soul and the blues with his own innovations, Jimi Hendrix helped found three new genres of music — heavy metal, jazz fusion and funk — and in doing so, left behind an indelible mark on pop music and popular culture generally,” said Joseph Corbett, chief financial officer and executive vice president, U.S. Postal Service.
“I’m especially pleased that we continue celebrating our Music Icons stamp series with the issuance of the Jimi Hendrix Forever Stamp,” Corbett said. Janie Hendrix, sister to the late Jimi Hendrix, joined Corbett to dedicate the stamp.
“I am deeply touched and so are other members of the Hendrix family by the issuance of this stamp, and I wish to thank the United States Postal Service for bestowing one of our nation’s highest honors on my brother Jimi,” said Janie Hendrix. “While my brother has been cited many times as being among the most influential musicians of all time, the recognition implicit in his being portrayed on a U.S. postage stamp ranks as an unparalleled honor.”
The stamp dedication was held prior to a Jimi Hendrix Celebration concert at the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Butler Park. There were performances by guitar luminaries, Wayne Kramer, guitarist for Motor City 5; Slash, former lead guitarist for Guns N’ Roses; Rusty Anderson, lead guitarist for Paul McCartney’s tours; and Perry Farrell, lead singer for Jane’s Addiction. Also, the concert featured Robby Krieger, guitarist for the Doors; Mary Bridget Davies, star of Broadway’s “A Night with Janis Joplin”; Jesse Malin, guitarist/musician; Dave and Phil Alvin, former guitarists for The Blasters; and Etty Farrell, wife of Perry Farrell and former star of E! reality series, “Married to Rock.”
The Postal Service has released numerous stamps to celebrate and honor music icons who had a big impact on American culture and the music industry. The Jimi Hendrix Forever Stamp kicks off the 2014 Music Icons series, which will include Janis Joplin later this year. The 2013 Music Icons series honored Johnny Cash, Ray Charlesand Lydia Mendoza.
The new limited-edition Jimi Hendrix stamp, designed by artist Rudy Gutierrez, features a vibrant, colorful design fashioned to evoke the movement and rhythm of the late singer and pay homage to the psychedelic rock era of the 1960s.
The stamp pane, designed to resemble a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve, features a painting of Hendrix’s face surrounded by colorful swirls and small icons that reference song lyrics or aspects of Hendrix’s life. The various icons include flowers, a guitar, a mermaid and a butterfly. The stamp art shows Hendrix in performance, wearing one of his trademark vintage military jackets and playing one of his beloved white Fender Stratocaster guitars.
The Jimi Hendrix stamp is being issued as a Forever Stamp, which is equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. Customers may view the Jimi Hendrix Forever Stamp, as well as a preview of many of this year’s other stamps, on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps, on Twitter @USPSstamps or on USPSstamps.com. A special promotional page has been created to display all of the Jimi Hendrix philatelic products.