Brian May (Queen guitarist)

~ Person

Legal name: Brian Harold May

Also performs as: Just William


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.

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. He is also a co-founder of the awareness campaign, Asteroid Day. Asteroid 52665 Brianmay was named after him. May is also an animal rights activist, campaigning against the hunting of foxes and the culling of badgers in the UK.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1983 Star Fleet Project Brian May + Friends 2 1
1992 Back to the Light Brian May 4 4
1993 Resurrection Brian May with Cozy Powell 4 1
1998 Another World Brian May 4 3
1998 Retro Rock Special Brian May 5 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2013 Starmus: Sonic Universe Tangerine Dream and Brian May 2 1
2013 Acoustic by Candlelight: Live on the Born Free Tour Kerry Ellis & Brian May 5 1

Album + Soundtrack

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2000 Furia Brian May 4 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1983 Star Fleet Brian May + Friends 3 1
1987 A Time For Heroes Meat Loaf (with Brian May from Queen) & Tangerine Dream 5 1
1991 Driven by You Brian May 3 4
1992 Too Much Love Will Kill You Brian May 1
1992 Back to the Light Brian May 3 2
1993 Last Horizon Brian May 1
1993 Resurrection Brian May 1 3
1994 The Man from Manhattan Freddie Mercury, Brian May & Eddie Howell 1
1998 The Business (Rock on Cozy Mix) Brian May 3 1
1998 Why Don't We Try Again Brian May 1
1998 Another World Brian May 5 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1998 Red Special Brian May 2 1

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