The Music Legends Series
Commencing in 2020, the royal mint issued the first of a series of coins commemorating Iconic British Music Legends.
The Royal Mint launched its Music Legends series in January 2020 to celebrate some of the biggest names in British popular music. The series starts with Rock legends 'Queen' the super group with lead singer Freddie Mercury who dominated the charts with a string of hits including Bohemian Rhapsody, the 3rd best selling UK single. The 2nd coin in the series released in June 2020 honours the work of the iconic Sir Elton John, who's reworked song, Candle In The Wind, 'Goodbye England's Rose' performed just twice, once at Princess Diana's funeral, and once in the studio, went on to become the best selling British single of all time.The 3rd coin in the series released in December 2020 'David Bowie' a true British Music Icon, whose hits include Space Oddity, Under Pressure, China Girl and many many more..
Music Legends series coins are extremely sought after, both issues have long since sold out at the Royal Mint, and we await news of further additions in the series. The Royal Mint have not made public the full range of artists who will appear within the series. The coins of the Music Legend series have become some of the most popular coins to be released in recent years with extremely low mintage's just adding to their allure.
Dame Shirley Bassey
Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey DBE (born 8 January 1937)is a Welsh singer. Best known for her career longevity, powerful voice and recording the theme songs to three James Bond films, Bassey is widely regarded as one of the most popular vocalists in Britain. In 1999, she was made a Dame (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.
Shirley Bassey first came to prominence in 1960 with the first of UK top 10 hits 'As Long As He Needs Me' this was quickly followed by 3 more UK top 10 singles. In January 1963, Bassey performed at a gala commemorating the second anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's inauguration in Washington, D.C. The first of her 3 Bond themes 'Goldfinger' peaked in the US charts at No8 in 1965. To date her career has spanned eight decades, winning numerous music and TV awards, making Dame Shirley Bassey a true Music Legend.
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones formed in 1962 are one of the worlds most iconic rock bands and are the feature of the Royal Mints 5th release in the highly sought after 'Music Legends' series. Mick Jagger along with Keith Richards formed the band after a chance meeting at Dartford train station in 1961. They had attended the same primary school as children but lost touch when Jagger's family moved away. Their first show billed as the Rolling Stones came on 12th July 1962 at the Marquee club in London. Still performing today the band went on to sell over 240 million records worldwide.
This Iconic Rock Band formed in Acton London in 1964 are the subject of the 4th release of the sought after Music Legends series. The original band members were lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass guitarist and singer John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. With worldwide record sales of over 100 million, they are considered one of the most influential rock bands of all time.
The group initially rose to provenance as a live act the Marquee Club in London earning rave reviews from Melody Maker magazine. In January 1965 they released their first single 'I Can't Explain' written by Pete Townsend, the record quickly became a favourite of pirate radio station such as Radio Caroline. Later that year the second single 'My Generation' reached No2 in the UK pop charts and remains the groups highest singles chart performer. In 1966 the band conducted a short tour of New York which earned them an appearance at the Monterey Music festival.
The group followed Monterey with a US tour supporting Herman's Hermits. The Hermits were a straightforward pop band and enjoyed drugs and practical jokes. They bonded with Moon, who was excited to learn that cherry bombs were legal to purchase in Alabama. Moon acquired a reputation of destroying hotel rooms while on tour, with a particular interest in blowing up toilets. Entwistle said the first cherry bomb they tried "blew a hole in the suitcase and the chair". Moon recalled his first attempt to flush one down the toilet: "All that porcelain flying through the air was quite unforgettable. I never realised dynamite was so powerful." After a gig in Flint, Michigan on Moon's 21st birthday on 23 August 1967, the entourage caused $24,000 of damage at the hotel.
In 1968 the album that would secure the bands financial and cult status 'Tommy' featuring 'Pinball Wizard' was released, it sold 200.000 copies in its first 2 weeks in the US, earning critical acclaim. Melody Maker declared: "Surely the Who are now the band against which all others are to be judged.". In August that year they played at the famous Woodstock festival after demanding $13,000 in advance.
By 1970 The Who were considered one of the best rock bands and most popular live acts in the world and the Album 'Tommy' was described as one of the best live rock albums of all time, by the likes of the BBC, Daily Telegraph, and The Independent. In 1971 the group released their 5th studio album, 'Who's Next' which went 3 x platinum in the US and Platinum in the UK making it their biggest selling album.
In 1973 The Who started recording the album 'Quadrophenia' The story is about a boy named Jimmy, who undergoes a personality crisis, and his relationship with his family, friends and mod culture. The album formed the basis of the film released in 1979 of the same name, this followed the tragic death of drummer Keith Moon who on 6th September 1978 attended a party held by Paul McCartney to celebrate Buddy Holly's birthday. Returning to his flat, Moon took 32 tablets of clomethiazole which had been prescribed to combat his alcohol withdrawal. He passed out the following morning and was discovered dead later that day. The day after Moon's death, Townshend issued the statement: "We are more determined than ever to carry on, and we want the spirit of the group to which Keith contributed so much to go on, although no human being can ever take his place. Drummer Phil Collins, having a temporary break from Genesis after his first marriage had failed, was at a loose end and asked to replace Moon, but Townshend had already asked Kenney Jones, who had previously played with the Small Faces and Faces.
In January 2019, the band announced the Moving On! Tour. The tour began on 7 May in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but was interrupted during a show at Houston, Texas in September 2019 Houston after Daltrey lost his voice. The COVID-19 pandemic put the remainder of the tour on hold. A new album titled Who was released on 6 December.
Sir Elton John
Reginald Kenneth Dwight, later Elton John, was born in 1947 in Pinner, Middlesex to strict parents. By the age of five, it was discovered that “Reggie” had a talent, he could play, almost perfectly, any section of music he had heard on the radio, or any other source, on his parents piano.
By age twelve, elton’s musical talent started showing, he performed for pubs and bars around london, but his musical career really got going when he started up the band “Bluesology”, a small but popular band that would perform in pubs, it was also around this time that elton started wearing horn rimmed glasses in tribute to buddy holly. He would play in bluesology until 1967, when in his late-teens or early 20’s, elton quit bluesology and sought to become a solo artist, he published an ad in New Musical Express, asking for budding music writers, and discovered Bernie Taupin.
Bernie Taupin was a god send to Elton, both Elton and Taupin instantly got together, with Elton singing and playing the piano, while Taupin would write lyrics on paper. According to Elton, it was nights of various lyrics, a lot of which he and Taupin burned, which, in the present day, Elton regrets.
Elton John has released 33 studio albums, and 128 official singles to date, and sold over 300 million records worldwide, making him one of the biggest music artists of all time.
Iconic British Rock Band 'Queen' formed in London in 1970, the band consisted of singer, Freddie Mercury, lead guitarist Brian May, Roger Taylor on drums and John Deacon on bass guitar. The band had its roots in the group 'Smile' formed in 1968 with members Brian May, lead guitar, Roger Taylor, and lead singer Tim Staffell. When Tim Staffel left the band to join another, May and Taylor who had met Freddie Mercury at Ealing college thought him a perfect replacement. Freddie came up with the name 'Queen' and even designed the bands now famous logo, inspired by the zodiacal signs of its members. Two lions, by Deacon and Taylor who were Leo, a crab for May, who was Cancer, and two fairies for Mercury, who was Virgo.
The band made its first appearance on Top of The Pops in 1974 performing 'Seven Seas of Rhye' the Freddie Mercury written song that would become 'Queens' first top ten single. It was 1975 however where Queen were to stake their claim to a place in British (if not world) music history with the release of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' from the album 'A Night at the Opera; a single that would go on to dominate the UK singles chart staying at No1 for nine weeks selling over 1 million copies by January 1976. After Mercury's death in 1991, it topped the charts for another five weeks, eventually becoming the UK's third best-selling single of all time. It is also the only song to reach the UK Christmas number one twice by the same artist. The song again came to prominence in 1992 with the release of the movie Wayne's World'.
Queen went on to be a household name adding hit after hit to their catalogue, from 'Someone to Love', Killer Queen; 'We are Champions' and so many more. The bands final album 'Made in Heaven' with Freddie Mercury released 4 years after his death in 1995, sold 20 million copies and went to be No1 in the UK album charts, featuring Freddie's last recordings such as "Too Much Love Will Kill You" and "Heaven for Everyone".
The Icon that is David Bowie was born David Robert Jones on January 8th 1947 in Brixton South London. He formed his first group 'Konrads' in 1962 aged just 15, but upon leaving technical school the following year his mother arranged employment as an electricians mate. However David informed her that he was going to be a Rock Star and joined another band 'King Bees' the band had little success but did lead to Bowie's first single release in 1964 at the age of 17, 'Liza Jane' accredited to Davie Jones and the King Bees.