The United States Postal Service has honored the legendary Ray Charles with the Ray Charles Forever stamp. It’s part of the USPS’s "Music Icons Forever" stamp series. The limited-edition stamp was released on the late Albany, Ga., native’s birthday of September 23rd.
The stamp for Charles, who died in 2004, was unveiled at two events: one at Morehouse College's Ray Charles Performing Arts Center in Atlanta and at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. Ashanti performed at the Atlanta event and Chaka Khan sang at the Grammy Museum.
The stamp’s artwork is based on a photograph by Yves Carrère.
The release of the Charles stamp actually coincides with a new compilation album, Ray Charles Forever, featuring some of Charles’ standards including "America the Beautiful" and "Ring of Fire," as well a previously-unreleased recording of "They Can't Take That Away From Me."
“The Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) recommended the Music Icons series and has identified a number of artists to be honored in the series. Ray Charles is among many representing all genres of music. Lydia Mendoz, Johnny Cash and Ray Charles were identified for 2013,” explained USPS spokesperson Mark Saunders.
According to Saunders, the USPS is expecting the stamp to sell well. “We expect this to be very popular – and we’re hoping for a sell-out!” says Saunders. Looking at the presale numbers, Saunders might be right. “For Ray Charles, 186,720 stamps (12, 067 panes of 16 stamps) were on presale hold at the time of release,” he says.
The USPS printed 60 million Ray Charles stamps.