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Rocker Bowie immortalised by the Royal Mail

PUBLISHED: 15:41 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 09:54 12 August 2010

FIRST CLASS: Artist George Underwood’s work reaches a new audience.

FIRST CLASS: Artist George Underwood's work reaches a new audience.

AN ARTIST has had his work immortalised on Royal Mail s collection of New Year stamps after it featured on one of the most iconic album covers of the past

ISSUED: The new first class stamp featuring the album cover Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie.

AN ARTIST has had his work immortalised on Royal Mail's collection of New Year stamps after it featured on one of the most iconic album covers of the past 40 years.

Bromley-born George Underwood's design of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust is one of ten designs which were selected to represent the past four decade's most memorable music sleeves.

Last Thursday, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page launched the collection which will also feature the band's 1971 IV album cover.

The artist's design of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, released by Bowie in 1972 shows a picture of the star in Heddon Street in the West End.

Artwork in the collection is brought to life on ten first class stamps, each with a vinyl disc 'emerging' from the edge of the stamp.

Mr Underwood said: "I'm very pleased. It's funny to think that artwork that size has now come down to the size of a stamp."

The 62-year-old first became friends with the rock star when the pair were just nine years old and enrolling for Bromley cubs.

They later went to Bromley Technology School - now The Ravens Wood School in Oakley Road, Bromley - where Underwood famously injured Bowie during a fight over a girl, resulting in his two differently-coloured eyes. Speaking about his friend's music and success, he said: "I knew he was capable of doing things that were quite possibly earth-shaking so it wasn't quite as unexpected as for people who had never heard about him. He did alter the look of pop music for quite a while."

Other covers which feature in the collection include The Clash's London Calling, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells and Let it Bleed by the Rolling Stones.

Mr Underwood, who now does mostly figurative painting, added: "They are all iconic covers. It's great to be in good company."

Royal Mail researched thousands of records to find the most iconic artwork.

head of special stamps, Julietta Edgar, said: "Royal Mail's special stamps are famous around the world for their ability to capture the richness and diversity of British heritage and culture.

"As different as they are distinctive they bring together famous people, great art, historic events and major anniversaries on millions of miniature canvasses every month."

The stamps are on sale now. For more information about George Underwood see www.georgeunderwood.com.

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