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Music Legends Series

Author: Jon Clarke - Bullion & Economics Editor

Published: 21 May 2021

Last Updated: 21 May 2021

Synopsis

The latest release in the Royal Mint’s amazing "Music Legends" series are set to receive a new addition next week. With no official confirmation on who it's going to be, we have a pretty good idea who it might be and that's none other than legendary English rock band, The Who, famous for tracks such as My Generation, Pinball Wizard and Won't Get Fooled Again.

Here, we look at the previous releases of the Music Legends series and take a guess as to who might be on the next coins.

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

The Royal Mint's Music Legends Series

Queen

The Music Legends series began in 2020 with the first coins featuring UK rock group Queen.

The classic line-up of lead vocalist and pianist Freddie Mercury, guitarist and vocalist Brian May, drummer and vocalist Roger Taylor and bass player and vocalist John Deacon.

Since 1971, Queen have released over 70 singles, 15 studio albums and 11 live albums, some of which were released posthumously after the death of Freddie Mercury.

The coins were designed by Christopher Facey and featured images of Freddie’s grand piano and microphone, Brian May’s guitar, Roger Taylor’s bass drum and John Deacon’s bass. 

Elton John

The second release paid homage to Elton John, whose has been entertaining audiences for nearly 60 years.

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947, he showed a musical aptitude early on and was frequently entertaining friends and family with his piano playing and released his debut album Empty Sky in 1968 under his stage name Elton John. He legally changed his name to Elton John in 1972.

Elton John has sold over 300 million records and is one of the best-selling music artists ever.

Outside of his music, Elton John set up the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992 to support those suffering from HIV. The foundation has raised over US$600 million in 35 different countries to fund its HIV-related programs.

Also released in 2020, the Elton John coins celebrate his “I’m Still Standing” days and Bradley Morgan Johnson’s design feature his iconic glasses, boater hat and bow tie. 

David Bowie

The David Bowie coins were arguably the most popular coins in the series (so far) which was a great tribute to perhaps the most influential musical artist of the 20th century.

Also born in 1947, Bowie was born David Robert Jones and showed an early interest in music and was influenced by the rock and roll artists of the era such as Little Richard and Elvis Presley.

His first single “Liza Jane” was released 1964 under the name Davie Jones with the King Bees although it was not successful. In order to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees, he took the name David Bowie after the Bowie knife.

Bowie’s ability to reinvent himself over the years helped him to increase his influence and broaden his fan base. Some of these reinventions include his androgynous alter ego, Ziggy Stardust and the related concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

Bowie also became an accomplished actor with roles in a number of Broadway productions and the cult classic film Labyrinth.

Bowie passed away just 2 days after his 69th birthday on 10th January 2016.

Designed by Jody Clark, the David Bowie coins feature the legendary artist in front of the iconic lightning bolt as seen on his Ziggy Stardust character. 

Next Up: The Who??

The most recent release in the Music Legends series celebrates The Who, who gained a reputation of one of the greatest rock bands and live acts in the world.

Originally made up of vocalist Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon, the group became famous for their live performances which regularly ended with the destruction of instruments and amplifiers.

The band were just as influential in fashion, embracing pop art and using the Union Jack and the mod roundel as a logo.

Their 6th album Quadrophenia became the basis for the 1979 film of the same name which depicted the rivalry between the mods and rockers. The film would also help in the growing mod revival of the late 70s and early 80s.

Despite the deaths of Moon and Entwistle, Daltrey and Townshend have continued to tour and released their latest studio album Who in 2019.

The design for these coins is still top secret, but we’ll be letting you know as soon as we can! 

Who's Next? (Not the album!)

It’s not unreasonable to say that the British Isles have given birth to some of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The big question is: who’s going to be the next music legend?

Here’s who we expect to be seeing in the future:

  • The Beatles 
  • The Rolling Stones 
  • Led Zeppelin 
  • Pink Floyd
  • Des O’ Connor
  • The Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band 

Who do you think should be on the next coin?

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