Brian May Biography (BBC)
As the guitarist and co-songwriter of Queen, Brian May is both a British rock icon and one of the most successful musicians in UK music history. But there's always been more to May than his achievements at the heart of a group that ruled both the 70s and 80s and his mastery of playing his famous homemade guitar, the Red Special. He’s also an astrophysicist, who has co-authored books on the subject with presenters of the BBC series The Sky at Night. A committed animal rights activist, he told BBC Hardtalk in 2010 that he would prefer to be remembered for his work in that field, above science and music.
He was born in London on 19 July 1947 and formed his first band, Smile, in 1968. Included in the group was drummer Roger Taylor, with whom May and singer Freddie Mercury would form Queen in 1970. John Deacon, their fourth bassist, joined in 1971. Many of Queen’s biggest hits across their 15 studio albums were written by May, including We Will Rock You, Fat Bottomed Girls, Tie Your Mother Down (their concert opener for many years), Who Wants to Live Forever, Hammer to Fall and I Want it All.
Following the death of Freddie Mercury in November 1991, May released his first solo album, Back to the Light, which produced two Top 10 singles, Too Much Love Will Kill You (thought to be a tribute to Mercury, but it had been written before his death) and Driven by You. A second solo album, Another World, was released in 1998, as well as a soundtrack album, Furia, in 2000.
With Taylor, but without Deacon, May has also kept Queen on tour – initially, from 2004-2009, with Paul Rodgers from Free and Bad Company as singer, then with Adam Lambert, a former American Idol contestant.
Throughout his career, May has collaborated with many other musicians, including Eddie Van Halen, Lady Gaga, Rick Wakeman and Phil Collins. He has a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London and was awarded the CBE in 2005 for “services to the music industry and for charity work”.
Brian May Biography (Wikipedia)
Brian Harold May, CBE (born 19 July 1947) is an English musician, singer, songwriter and astrophysicist best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen. He uses a home-built electric guitar, called the Red Special. His compositions for the band include "We Will Rock You", "Tie Your Mother Down", "I Want It All", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Flash", "Hammer to Fall", "Save Me", "Who Wants to Live Forever" and "The Show Must Go On".
May was a co-founder of Queen with lead singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor, having previously performed with Taylor in the band Smile, which he had joined while he was at university. Within five years of their formation in 1970 and the recruitment of bass player John Deacon completing the lineup, Queen had become established as one of the biggest rock bands in Britain with the album A Night at the Opera and its single "Bohemian Rhapsody". From the mid-1970s until the early 1990s, Queen were an almost constant presence in the UK charts and played some of the biggest venues in the world, most notably giving an acclaimed performance at Live Aid in 1985. As a member of Queen, May became regarded as a virtuoso musician, and he was identified with a distinctive sound created through his layered guitar work. Following the death of Mercury in 1991, Queen were put on hiatus for several years but were eventually reconvened by May and Taylor for further performances featuring other vocalists. In 2005, a Planet Rock poll saw May voted the 7th greatest guitarist of all time. He was ranked at No. 26 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". In 2012, May was ranked the 2nd greatest guitarist of all time by a Guitar World magazine readers poll.
- God Only Knows (BBC Music)https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p0285vtj.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p0285vtj.jpg2014-10-07T18:50:00.000ZTo celebrate the launch of BBC Music we've remade The Beach Boys' masterpiece God Only Knows with the help of a few friends…http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p0286057
God Only Knows (BBC Music)
- Brian May chats with Radcliffe and Maconiehttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p027vnjb.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p027vnjb.jpg2014-10-03T12:36:00.000ZMark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie are joined by Brian May.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p027vnzr
Brian May chats with Radcliffe and Maconie
- Brian May talks about the Tie your Mother Down riffhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p022ngfk.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p022ngfk.jpg2014-07-11T14:02:00.000ZQueens' Brian May talks about the conception of this riffhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p022nggc
Brian May talks about the Tie your Mother Down riff
- Brian May and Kerry Ellis chat to Steve Wrighthttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01rtv9h.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01rtv9h.jpg2014-02-06T16:50:00.000ZBrian and Kerry discuss playing by candlelight and get Steve to sing with them!http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01rtvbk
Brian May and Kerry Ellis chat to Steve Wright
- Brian May and Kerry Ellis catch up with Patrick Kieltyhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p019qz5c.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p019qz5c.jpg2013-05-30T10:58:00.000ZQueen's Brian May and West End star Kerry Ellis catch up with Patrick Kielty.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p019qz5k
Brian May and Kerry Ellis catch up with Patrick Kielty
Brian May Tracks