Johnny Cash Waxes Poetic About the Things He Loved

Technology may evolve every day, but some things never change. So even if you get your Johnny Cash tunes via digital download instead of on vinyl, this musical pioneer—honored with a stamp in this year’s new Music Icon series—sounds as powerful as ever.

This handsome collectible package includes a sheet of 16 Johnny Cash stamps and a stamped envelope bearing a First Day of Issue color postmark. Click the image for details.

One thing you might be missing with digital music, however, is liner notes, the text that used to be printed on the paper record sleeves, or “liners,” that protected a vinyl album from dust. When Johnny Cash created American Recordings, released in 1994, he wrote a set of musings for the liner notes that covered everything from veggie burgers to Elvis. One paragraph listed all his favorite song topics. Just reading it is enough to bring Cash’s signature gravelly voice to mind!

I love songs about horses, railroads, land, judgment day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God.

Speaking of courtship and marriage, Cash said he proposed to June Carter more than 30 times before she finally said “yes.”

The , which was issued on June 5, 2013, is currently available online at, by calling (), and at Post Offices nationwide. Add some to your collection today!

Video: Honoring The Visionary Ray Charles

Two stamp release events — held last week in Atlanta and Los Angeles — paid tribute to Ray Charles, the extraordinary composer, singer, and pianist. If you weren’t able to attend, this video provides some wonderful highlights. Enjoy!

And remember: the Ray Charles Forever® stamp is on sale now. The stamp is available online at, by calling (), and at Post Offices around the country.

Ray Charles Is Third Inductee Into Music Icons Series

Recording artists Ashanti, Kenny Rogers, and Chaka Khan, and Reverend Jesse Jackson were among the luminaries who honored Ray Charles this week. At ceremonies held in Atlanta and Los Angeles on Monday, the legendary singer was inducted into the Music Icons stamp series.

The first event, held at Morehouse College’s Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, featured performances by Ashanti and the Morehouse College Glee Club. The second event, held at the Grammy Museum, featured performances by Chaka Khan and Summer Sessions.

Recording Artist Ashanti performs at the Ray Charles stamp dedication ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Recording artist Ashanti performs at the Ray Charles stamp dedication ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

“Frank Sinatra, himself a stamp honoree, once characterized Ray Charles as ‘the only true genius in show business,’ and certainly, if anyone was a musical genius, it was Ray Charles,” said U.S. Postal Service Judicial Officer William Campbell, who dedicated the stamp at the Atlanta ceremony. “Despite being blind and having a young life marked by tragedy, hardship and tremendous challenges, Ray Charles went on to have a remarkable 58-year career playing music that blurred the lines of jazz, gospel, blues and, in later years, country. In doing so, he became the personification of the American Dream.”

Chaka Khan performed at the Ray Charles stamp dedication ceremony at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

Chaka Khan performs at the Ray Charles stamp dedication ceremony at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

“It is with great pleasure that we honor a man who not only had an incalculable impact on the face of contemporary soul, R&B, gospel and rock, but also touched people individually,” said U.S. Postal Service Sales Vice President Cliff Rucker, who dedicated the stamp at the Los Angeles event. “The third in our new Music Icons series, Ray Charles’ stamp, another tribute to his legacy, will join those of distinguished performers Lydia Mendoza and Johnny Cash, which were dedicated earlier this year. And how fitting that Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, who in life were such great friends and recorded two duets together, will be reunited in the form of postage stamps.”

The Ray Charles Forever® stamp is available at, by calling 800-STAMP-24 (), and at Post Offices nationwide. The Music Icons series, which launched May 15, 2013, with the Lydia Mendoza Forever stamp, honored earlier this year.

Ray Charles at the Movies

This week, we’re celebrating the release of the . Did you know that this musical pioneer, also known as “Brother Ray,” has several links to the silver screen?

Inspired by mid-century album covers, this graphic 16 x 22-inch print reflects the rhythm and energy of Ray Charles’s music. Click the link for details.

  • Charles was given a Braille copy of the script for the movie based on his life, Ray.

And a final trivia question: Elvis Presley was known for his many film roles. What do Elvis and Ray Charles have in common? Hint: The answer also involves James Brown and Buddy Holly. Give up? Along with Elvis, James Brown, and Buddy Holly, Ray Charles was one of the ten original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Ray Charles CD Features Classic Performances

The is available now! In conjunction with the stamp issuance, Concord Music Group is releasing a compilation CD of remastered classic Charles performances. The collection features 13 songs, including a previously unreleased version of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and a USPS exclusive bonus track, “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.”

The disc’s cover features art from the Ray Charles stamp. The CD is available for $9.99 in Post Offices nationwide and .

Ray Charles