Music

1988 22¢ Black Heritage: James Weldon Johnson
June 17, 1871

Birth of James W. Johnson

James Weldon Johnson was born on June 17, 1871, in Jacksonville, Florida.  A poet, songwriter, diplomat, and activist, he was the first African American executive secretary of the NAACP.

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1984 20¢ Performing Arts: John McCormack
June 14, 1884

Happy Birthday, John McCormack

Irish tenor John McCormack was born on June 14, 1884, in Athlone, Ireland.  Eventually becoming an American citizen, he was internationally renowned for his singing abilities and breath control.

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1993 29¢ Legends of American Music: Ritchie Valens
May 13, 1941

Birth of Ritchie Valens

Richard Steven Valenzuela, known as Richie Valens, was born on May 13, 1941, in Pacoima, Los Angeles, California. Valens was a pioneer of Chicano rock and Latin rock, often considered the first Latino performer to successfully crossover to mainstream rock ‘n’ roll.

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2007 39¢ Black Heritage: Ella Fitzgerald
April 25, 1917

Birth of Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia. Her pure, ageless voice spanned three octaves, and she was known as the First Lady of Song, the Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella.

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1964 5¢ American Music
February 13, 1914

Founding of ASCAP

On February 13, 1914, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) was founded in New York City.  The organization works to protect musical copyrights in various media.

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1998 32¢ Folk Musicians: Josh White
February 11, 1914

Birth of Josh White

Joshua Daniel White was born on February 11, 1914, in Greenville, South Carolina. A trailblazing musician, White broke barriers with many notable firsts…

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1998 32¢ Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter
January 23, 1888

Birth of Lead Belly

Huddie William “Lead Belly” Ledbetter is believed to have born on January 23, 1888, in Mooringsport, Louisiana. Called the “king of the 12-string guitar players,” he was a popular folk and blues performer known for such songs as “Goodnight, Irene, “Midnight Special,” and “In the Pines.”

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1994 29¢ Popular Singers: Ethel Merman stamp
January 16, 1908

Birth of Ethel Merman

Ethel Agnes Zimmermann was born on January 16, 1908, in Astoria, Queens, New York. Known as the “Queen of Broadway,” her dazzling career lasted more than 50 years.

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1995 32¢ Jazz Musicians: Erroll Garner stamp
January 2, 1977

Death of Erroll Garner

Jazz pianist and composer Erroll Garner died on January 2, 1977, in Los Angeles, California. He’s been called “one of the most distinctive of all pianists” and a “brilliant virtuoso.”

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