Brian May CBE Background information Birth name Brian Harold May Born (1947-07-19) 19 July 1947 (age68) Hampton, Middlesex, England Genres Rock Occupation(s) Musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, astrophysicist, author Instruments Guitars, keyboards, vocals Years active 1965present Labels Hollywood, Parlophone Associated acts Smile, Queen, Phenomena, G3, Black Sabbath, Queen + Paul Rodgers, Anita Dobson, Kerry Ellis, Queen + Adam Lambert, Lady Gaga Website brianmay.com Notable instruments
Brian Harold May, CBE (born 19 July 1947) is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and astrophysicist who achieved international fame 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”, “Save Me”, “Who Wants to Live Forever” and “The Show Must Go On”.
May was a founding member 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, 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.
He was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2005 for “services to the music industry and for charity work”. May attained a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London in 2007 and was Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University from 2008 to 2013. He was a “science team collaborator” with NASA’s New Horizons Pluto mission.
May has homes in London and Windlesham, Surrey. He is an active animal rights advocate and was appointed a vice-president of animal welfare charity the RSPCA in September 2012.
Brian Harold May, the only child of Harold and Ruth May, was born in Hampton, London, and attended the local Hampton Grammar School, then a voluntary aided school (now independent and known as Hampton School). He is of English and Scottish descent, with his mother being Scots. During this time, he formed his first band, named 1984 after George Orwell’s novel of the same name, with vocalist and bassist Tim Staffell. At Hampton Grammar School, he attained ten GCE Ordinary Levels and three A-Levels (Physics, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics). He studied Mathematics and Physics at Imperial College London, graduating with a BSc. in Physics with honours.
May formed the band Smile in 1968. The group included Tim Staffell as the lead singer and bassist, and later, drummer Roger Taylor, who also went on to play for Queen. The band lasted for only two years, from 1968 to 1970, as Staffell departed in 1970, leaving the band with a catalogue of nine songs. Smile would reunite for several songs on 22 December, 1992. Taylor’s band The Cross were headliners, and he brought May and Staffell on to play “Earth” and “If I Were a Carpenter”. May also performed several other songs that night.
Queen was formed in London in 1970, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), May (guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). May also served as Queen’s backing vocalist.
In Queen’s three-part vocal harmonies, May was generally the lower-range backing vocals. On some of his songs, he sings the lead vocals, most notably the first verse of “Who Wants to Live Forever”, the final verse of “Mother Love”, the middle eight on “I Want It All” and “Flash’s Theme”, and full lead vocals on “Some Day One Day”, “She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettoes)”, “’39”, “Good Company”, “Long Away”, “All Dead, All Dead”, “Sleeping on the Sidewalk”, “Leaving Home Ain’t Easy” and “Sail Away Sweet Sister”.
Throughout Queen’s career, May frequently wrote songs for the band and has composed many worldwide hits such as “We Will Rock You”, “Tie Your Mother Down”, “I Want It All”, “Fat Bottomed Girls”, “Who Wants To Live Forever” and “The Show Must Go On” as well as writing significant hit songs “Hammer to Fall”, “Flash”, “Now I’m Here”, “Brighton Rock”, “The Prophet’s Song”, “Las Palabras de Amor”, “No-One But You” and “Save Me”. Typically, either Mercury or May wrote the most songs on every Queen album.
Brian May – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia