Released to collectors November 9, 2014, along with
First Day of Issue
In tribute to the legends responsible for making American music part of global popular culture, the USPS is launching a new Music Icons stamp series, with the premier stamp honoring Lydia Mendoza, one of the first and greatest stars of Tejano music.
ISSUE TOTAL SIZE
First Day of Issue
May 15, 2013
San Antonio, TX 78284
What does an 18 year old know of “Mal Hombre”, or “wicked man”? That was the song that Lydia Mendoza learned from her collection of bubble gum wrappers, but the melody would come later, after a musical show that she and her father attended. Back in the day, music publishers would place a song’s text in a bubble gum wrapper in hopes of making it popular. Mal Hombre became an overnight success for Lydia. But success in those days was not exactly our brand of success today. The money certainly was not as forthcoming as one might expect. Her father was a mechanic on the rail line that linked Texas to Mexico. Since he worked both sides of the border, he usually took his family with him, so Lydia was unable to attend school as a young girl. Her mother, however, taught the children to read. Although Lydia was born in Texas and considered an American, she favored traditional Mexican-American music. Music was always present in her home, from her mother to her grandmother, as they taught her to play a variety of instruments. At 4 years of age, Lydia made a guitar for herself using wood, nails and rubber bands. Soon she would join her family in performing songs and variety shows for the Tejano community. Lydia played the mandolin, violin and a her signature 12-string guitar that her father personalized for her by rearranging the strings—giving her a distinct sound. During the week they played restaurants and markets earning .25 to .30 cents a day, which was enough to cover their food and on the weekends they pulled in enough to cover their rent—$1.25.
Read the article in its entirety in the 6-page November 2014 Bevil newsletter, which accompanies the cover.