Brian May Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (6)  | Trivia (37)  | Personal Quotes (48)

Overview (4)

Born in Hampton, Middlesex, England, UK
Birth NameBrian Harold May
Nickname Bri
Height 6' 1½" (1.87 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Brian May is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential, innovative, technically gifted and recognisable guitarists in the history of rock. He is also a prolific songwriter, responsible for writing or co-writing many international hits with Queen. He was educated at Hampton Grammar School in London. He then graduated with a degree in Maths and Physics from one of Britain's top universities, Imperial College London.

As a child, May built his own guitar with his father, partly out of an old fireplace. Unusually, the guitar was designed to feedback. He formed the band Smile while at university with drummer Roger Taylor. They were later joined by flamboyant singer and pianist Freddie Mercury, who renamed the band Queen. The addition of bass player John Deacon completed the line-up of a band which would go on to become one of the most successful in the history of popular music. May's guitar playing would become an integral part of Queen's sound.

May was influenced as a guitarist by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, who had dazzled audiences with their technical skills and volume, but he was also an admirer of the melodic skills of George Harrison of The Beatles and the original British rock and roll guitar hero, Hank B. Marvin of The Shadows.

What made May stand out as a guitarist was his combination of virtuoso technique but also melodic awareness. Unlike some virtuosos, who only play to showcase their ability, May always played to serve the songs. If a song only required minimal soloing, that's all he would do. His multi-tracking of guitar solos has also made him one of the most unique sounding guitarists in the world. Nowhere was this better exemplified than on Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", the song which came to define the band more than any other and has become one of the most celebrated recordings in the history of rock music. May's solos are a big part of what gives the track its enduring appeal and emotional power.

May's legacy in music history is assured. He will be remembered along with the likes of George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page as one of the most important and influential guitarists to come out of England. His songs for Queen were often their harder rock tracks, such as "We Will Rock You", "Tie Your Mother Down" and "Hammer to Fall", but he also wrote emotional songs such as "Save Me" and the symphonic "Who Wants to Live Forever", which proved his versatility as a songwriter.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Anita Dobson (18 November 2000 - present)
Chrissie Mullens (1974 - 1988) ( divorced) ( 3 children)

Trade Mark (6)

Plays his guitar (the Red Special) with a sixpence coin
His curly hair
His guitar "The Red Special" which he built
Guitar riffs
Innovative multi-tracked guitar solos
Vox AC30 guitar amplifiers

Trivia (37)

Guitarist with the rock group Queen.
Left his wife Chrissie for British soap-actress star Anita Dobson.
Brian May and his ex-wife Chrissie have 3 children: James (aka Jimmy), born in 1978 Louisa, born in 1981 Emily, born in 1987
After much experimentation, he found the best guitar sound came from using an old English sixpence coin as a pick. These coins went out of circulation in the early 70s, and in 1992 he had the Royal Mint make up some more with his likeness on them.
Attended Imperial College, London University where he completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in physics and mathematics. Commenced a Doctorate in astronomy, but dropped out to join Queen.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 (as a member of Queen).
He has performed with the SAS (Spike Edney's All Stars) Band.
Brian made a guest appearance playing with rock band Marillion at the Mungersdorfer Stadion, Cologne, West Germany. [July 1986]
As a member of Rock Against Repatriation, Brian collaborated with fellow star guitarists Steve Hackett (formerly of Genesis), Mike Rutherford (also of Genesis), Phil Manzanera (of Roxy Music), Steve Rothery (of Marillion) and many other rock stars for the charity single "Sailing". [1990]
Opened the Queen's Jubilee concert by playing "God Save The Queen" from the top of Buckingham Palace (2002).
Two of his riffs were voted into the Total Guitar Magazine poll of the 100 greatest riffs; "Tie Your Mother Down" was 84 and "One Vision" was 60 on the list. [June 2004]
He used to teach Mathematics at Stockwell Park Secondary School, in Stockwell, South West London.
He was awarded the C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2005 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to music.
Shares a birthday with fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Grateful Dead keyboardist Keith Godchaux and Eagles guitarist Bernie Leadon.
His trademark Red Special guitar was constructed essentially from old junk. Among the components that make up the guitar are motorcycle valve springs, a knitting needle, mother-of-pearl buttons, and a discarded fireplace mantle. In 2018 a book dedicated to the development of this custom guitar - "Brian May's Red Special: The Story of the Home-Made Guitar that Rocked Queen and the World" - was published.
Queen won the 2005 Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection.
Queen were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame for their outstanding contribution to British music and integral part of British music culture. [November 2004]
Resumed pursuit of PhD in Astronomy, updating research and data re: presentation of dissertation on motion of interstellar dust.
Penned the hits Keep Yourself Alive, Thirty-Nine, Tie Your Mother Down, and Fat Bottomed Girls.
Submitted Astronomy Ph.D. dissertation for review and approval mid-2007. Upon approval, Ph.D. will be given May 2008.
Attended the Genesis concert at Twickenham Stadium on 8th July 2007.
After more than 30 years lapsed since first starting doctoral studies, he earned his doctorate from Imperial College London in astrophysics after a successful thesis defense on August 23, 2007. The thesis is entitled, "Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud".
Has a guitar solo in the song "Bad For Good" on the Meat Loaf album "Bat out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose".
Enjoys the music of younger bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters and Muse.
Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University.
Very close friends with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi.
Is the only person to guest feature on a Black Sabbath song, "When Death Calls", on The 1987 Album "Headless Cross".
Queen was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6356 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Shouldn't be confused with Australian composer Brian May.
Apart from writing the classic Queen songs We Will Rock You, Flash, Hammer To Fall and The Show Must Go On, Brian also has a PhD in astrophysics and even has an asteroid named after him. He campaigns as an activist for animal protection. Furthermore, he recently did a five-year stint as the chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University.
Queen + 'Paul Rodgers (IV)' led a surprise North American tour, starting on 3 March in Miami, FL, and ending 13 April in Vancouver, BC. This was the first tour Queen had taken in North America since the death of Freddie Mercury. [March 2006]
Installed as the Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, replacing Cherie Blair, QC (wife of ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair). [April 2008]
Embarked on a world tour with Roger Taylor and 'Paul Rodgers (IV)' (as Queen + Paul Rodgers), including stops at the Meadowlands Arena and the Hollywood Bowl (marking the first time Queen has played in the U.S. since 1982). [March 2005]
He has an Erdös-Bacon-Sabbath number of 9, which ties him with Carl Sagan and is among the lowest on the planet.
Met his second wife at a preview screening of Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986).
Counts Irish rock guitarist Rory Gallagher as a major influence on much of his own personal guitar sound.
Holds a PhD in Astrophysics from Imperial College, London.

Personal Quotes (48)

I wanted to do an album on [paradoxes]. The band told me I was a pretentious fart. They were right.
I've never been fashionable and I never will.
I don't think anyone has epitomised riff writing better than Jimmy Page - he's one of the great brains of rock music.
I'm a much better musician than astronomer. I think the world got the right choice.
[Speaking in 2003] I do think that maybe now people are looking at more depth to what we did. Yes, we were pretty flashy and we were pretty loud and at moments we seemed very outrageous, but there was a lot of honest craftsmanship that went on behind that.
Sorry, TV just makes me feel ill. Except the good stuff that gets imported, with great scripts, great lighting, great camera angles, innovative effects, and fabulous editing. And the Simpsons. What has happened to us?
I'm feeling rather joyful. I cannot tell you how much of a weight off the mind it is. - after his assessors approved of his thesis and he passed an oral exam.
I'm the world's biggest Led Zeppelin fan. The music, the way they conducted themselves, their whole management structure - they were the blueprint. Queen always used to play The Immigrant Song in sound-checks just for the glory of the sound.
[Speaking in 1993 about his reluctance to perform again as Queen] In my mind, it just seems like there cannot be a Queen without Freddie (Freddie Mercury) and we should probably rather not pretend that there could be.
We were kind of disciples of Hendrix (Jimi Hendrix) and The Beatles, particularly the way they used studios almost like an instrument, but obviously we had more technology than they had had, so we could push things a lot further.
I regard Planet Rock as rather more than just a radio station - it is a symbol of free radio ... radio which is not run by large corporate organisations for the purpose of making tons of money, and has a free choice of what it plays.
[on how he got the idea to write the classic Queen song "We Will Rock You"] {Queen] played a gig at Bingley Hall near Birmingham. It was a popular venue at the time. It was a big sweaty barn and that night it was packed with a particularly vocal crowd. They were definitely drowning us out with their enthusiasm. I remember that even after we left the stage they didn't stop singing - loudly. They sang "You'll Never Walk Alone," which is very emotional. Quite a choking thing really. I certainly found it inspirational. Later that night back at our hotel I said to the others, "That was great. So what should we do to continue generating that kind of energetic response?" I woke up with the "We Will Rock You" lyrics in my head and had it written in about 10 minutes.
I think it's essential that you have things that you get into apart from music. You have to maintain your balance.
[on the all-female nude bicycle race that Queen organized to promote their "Bicycle Race" single] At the time, it seemed alright to have a bunch of girls riding bicycles without any clothes on. I don't know if I would make the same decision now. Probably not.
[on staying in the rock business] Keep your hair and don't get fat.
[speakin in 2010] I'm a person who's voted Conservative most of my life, but when I realised in the run up to the election that David Cameron was sympathetic to and supported by a group of people in the community who abuse animals, I became very upset.
[on Phil Collins] Phil's a great guy and an amazing drummer - he played with Roger and I at the Buckingham Palace gig. Plus in life, it doesn't really matter what people say about you - Phil can't please everyone. As Queen, we certainly know that.
[on Freddie Mercury] He gave people proof that a man could achieve his dreams - made them feel that through him they were overcoming their own shyness, and becoming the powerful figure of their ambitions. And he lived life to the full. He devoured life. He celebrated every minute. And, like a great comet, he left a luminous trail which will sparkle for many a generation to come.
[on the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991] The band finished, so there was a terrible feeling of loss - the band was my family. We lost Freddie and my dad died at almost the same time. I didn't want to live. I'd lost myself completely. I coasted along and got by somehow, but I couldn't get myself into gear. So I had to go into this place where I was isolated and removed from my life. Gradually, the suicidal feelings went away.
[on the 20th anniversary of the death of Freddie Mercury] Its not a day I celebrate. One of the grimmest memories of my life But I will be playing some guitar today, too, quite privately.
I am dedicated to the welfare of animals. These days I spend more time campaigning for animal rights than I do on music. My biggest difficulty is trying to juggle everything in my life. Time is a big problem. My family comes first, and then my devotion to helping animals. I love making music, but I no longer have much time to do that.
When I'm gone, people will no doubt remember me for Queen, but I would much rather be remembered for attempting to change the way we treat our fellow creatures. That would be something to be proud of.
At one point, I was really very suicidal. At such moments, it's only the fact that I've got kids that stops me from driving off bridges.
Roger (Roger Taylor) and I are like brothers - there is a real mutual respect and love between us - and it's just amazing that the music we made with Queen has spanned the generations. We go off and do our own projects, but it's wonderful when we get back in a room and play together, and we are always surprised to discover that - even after all of this time - the old magic is still there!
Plenty of people can play the drums, but to be able to play truly sympathetically to the song is a real talent, and one that Roger definitely has. He's a very musical drummer and has great skill on his cymbals, too. And, of course, he's so much more than just a drummer, because as his songwriting developed he also became a major force in creating material for the band.
When I started playing a riff, Roger just joined in, and something immediately happened musically...I'd never encountered a drummer who had the ability to sound so broad and big before - he was like an orchestra - and my guitar sound, which is also very broad, coupled with the spectrum of his drums, just gelled and we sounded complete.
I'll never forget the first time Roger and I jammed together because, after we'd set up our gear, he started this very delicate operation of tuning his drums. I was really shocked - I'd never seen anyone do that before... All of the drummers I'd worked with previously just hit the things! It was like Roger was making his drums talk though, and I watched - fascinated - as he smoothly transitioned from tuning into playing these beautifully controlled little press rolls on his snare. Again, so different to the bashers I was used to!
[on George Harrison] I hold George in such reverence and I think he's so underrated by the guitar community; everyone raves about people who play fast, but if you look at the catalogue of stuff he's produced, it's colossal.
[on the NME, a British music magazine which frequently criticised Queen] The NME is a rather grubby little English pop music paper which makes a kind of schoolboy attempt at political commentary - really a wannabee version of the American publication 'Rolling Stone', which has similar pretensions - not a great place to learn about the big world out there!
[on Freddie Mercury] I think one of the results of his life can be that people have a different attitude to people being gay. Here's a guy who was strong, who was incredibly talented, quite magnificent in every way you can thing of, and he was gay and was quite public about it. So I don't think anyone can ever quite feel the same about that any more - and it's time, God knows.
I despise the Lottery. There's less chance of you becoming a millionaire than there is of getting hit on the head by a passing asteroid.
[on The Voice UK (2012)] Every time I catch a glimpse of young singers busting their guts trying to win somebody's attention, who is rudely sitting with their back to the singer...I feel sick. It brings singing down to the level of a stupid obstacle course on It's a Knockout (1966). This is not - NOT - what music is about.
[on global success with Queen] I do get up some mornings and think: "God, how did that happen?". Because we were just boys - and it doesn't seem that long ago - with dreams and big ideas that we could do something that no one's ever done before, and sort of go out and conquer the world. And somehow, it happened. Everywhere I go, from Mongolia to Timbuktu, people know the songs. It's incredible. I feel very, very fortunate. It is like some kind of dream, really.
[on AIDS following the death of Mercury] There shouldn't be from this point - or not from any point - any stigma to having this disease. It's nothing to do with "somebody did something wrong, he's being punished". That's got to go, it has to go.
[on the possibility of a new Queen album featuring Freddie Mercury vocals] We thought we'd exhausted everything that was around and could be worked on, but since then a number of things have come to light from various sources that we'd just plain forgotten about, including the stuff with Freddie and Michael Jackson. Just a couple of weeks ago, we thought: Maybe we shouldn't be just working on bits and pieces? Maybe we should be heading towards an album? It just might be.
[on Sacha Baron Cohen's departure from the Freddie Mercury movie] Sacha's presence in the movie would be very distracting. What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he's made The Dictator (2012), Les Misérables (2012) and Hugo (2011) in which he makes outstanding performances, but they're very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances. And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief - the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn't that could really happen with Sacha. That's not any criticism of his talent whatsoever.
[on the death of Phil Everly] I feel like a huge piece of my youth just melted away. I loved, loved those guys, and still do. From The Everly Brothers, I learned to play rhythm guitar - a lot of people don't have that experience these days, and I learned every note of both parts they sang.
This [51 Degrees North (2015)] is a very different kind of disaster movie. No Bruce Willis here, to save life on Earth from extinction. Just humans searching for a way to live their last moments, and look for a way of saving ..... something. This is a movie to change perspectives - and now that we realise the high probability of such a strike from space, it is a timely warning indeed. I was inspired by the rushes, and honoured to be asked to contribute music for the film. We did the organic way ... all of the pieces were played completely live to the final cut of the film.
[on the death of Michael Jackson] I think the world is a more colorful place thanks to Michael's work ... he was a truly wonderful performer at his peak. I think he qualifies as a great artist; he devoted his whole body and soul to his art. I only hope he passed away in happiness, in great hopes and anticipation of his glorious comeback tour. RIP Michael.
[on Queen's show-stealing performance at Live Aid (1985)] I took Bob Geldof at his word. He said to me: "You're the biggest band in the world. We need you on the bill because we need to sell this thing worldwide. It's a global jukebox so just go out there and play the fuckin' hits." So all we did was go out there and give people what they wanted to hear. Compared to most of the other acts, we had the advantage because we were used to playing football stadiums all around the world.
[on touring with his band Queen] When the question comes up, 'Do you wanna tour again?', you think, 'Ah, my God. I have my life. It's fairly peaceful. I have everything that I need. I wanna be with my family' etc. etc. But the call of the wild is there and you think, 'Okay, this is actually what we do. We do play music. We go out. We take risks. We play without a safety net.'
[on Freddie Mercury's battle with AIDS] We didn't know actually what was wrong for a very long time. We never talked about it and it was a sort of unwritten law that we didn't, because Freddie didn't want to. He just told us that he wasn't up to doing tours, and that's as far as it went. Gradually, I suppose in the last year and a bit, it became obvious what the problem was, or at least fairly obvious. We didn't know for sure.
[on whether rock music had stopped being rebellious and become the establishment] The barriers got broken down, I think, and the distinctions got blurred. And I think it's a very good thing. Music is music and rock music will always be there now as not necessarily the expression of the young but the expression of people who feel that they want to express their passions directly and communicate.
I have learned from my time inside Parliament lobbying on animal welfare that it is still hard for MPs to go against their own leadership's plans, even when it is a free vote.
[on Gwilym Lee, the actor portraying him in the Freddie biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody] I met him recently and he's great. Yeah, I loved his presence. He has a great depth to him, a very thoughtful nature. He's a serious actor
[on Rami Malek portraying Freddie Mercury in the Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody] You'll just see this guy, and you will believe he's Freddie, I'm sure. He already has the body language, and he has the kind of persona of Freddie
[on making the Freddie biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody] That's something which we've had very much in mind with this movie. What was Freddie's journey? What did it mean? That's why we took so long to approve a script, because it has to tell the truth, and it has to be real. It also has to be entertaining, because the last thing that Freddie would want is to have something dull out there, you know? But it has to tell the story as it was. And it's a unique story, because Freddie was close to Mary. He was close to his men friends. He was also very close to us. We were such a tightly knit family, so in a sense, we were Freddie's closest family because Queen lasted longer than any of our marriages! I'm sorry, that's just a fact!
Michael Eavis has frequently insulted me, and I don't really particularly enjoy that. What bothers me more is that he's in favour of the badger cull, which I regard as a tragedy and an unnecessary crime against wildlife. So no. There's a little bit of a schism there. I wouldn't do Glastonbury unless things changed radically.

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