Friday, July 19, 2013

July 19: English musician and astrophysicist, Brian May of Queen, is 66-years-old today.

Did you know:

May earned a Ph.D in astrophysics from Imperial College in 2007 and served as the 4th Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University from 2008 until 2013.
He is the co-author of Bang! – The Complete History of the Universe with Sir Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott, which was published in October 2006.


Brian Harold May (CBE) was born 19 July 1947 in Hampton, London, England. While at Hampton Grammar School, he formed his first band with vocalist and bassist Tim Staffell, named 1984 after George Orwell's novel of the same name. Later, he studied Mathematics and Physics at Imperial College London, graduating with a B.Sc. degree with honours.

Queen began in London in 1970, and originally consisted of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals).

Queen's earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, incorporating further diverse styles into their music.

Before joining Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had been playing together in a band named Smile with bassist Tim Staffell. Freddie Mercury (then known as Farrokh/Freddie Bulsara) was a fan of Smile, and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques after Staffell's departure in 1970. Mercury himself joined the band shortly thereafter, changed the name of the band to "Queen,” and adopted his familiar stage name.

John Deacon was recruited prior to recording their eponymous debut album (1973). Queen enjoyed success in the UK with their debut and its follow-up, Queen II, but it was the release of Sheer Heart Attack and A Night at the Opera that garnered international success for the band. The latter featured "Bohemian Rhapsody,” which stayed at number one in the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks; it charted at number one in several other territories, and gave the band their first top ten hit on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Their 1977 album, News of the World, contained two of rock's most recognisable anthems, "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions.”

Following the death of Freddie Mercury in November 1991, May chose to deal with his grief by committing himself to his work, first by finishing his solo album, Back to the Light, and then touring worldwide. In late 1992, The Brian May Band was officially formed.

On 18 December 1993, May returned to the studio with fellow surviving Queen band members Roger Taylor and John Deacon to work on tracks that became Made in Heaven, the final Queen studio album. The band took Mercury's solo album demos and last recordings, which he managed to perform in the studio after the album Innuendo was finished, and completed them with their additions both musically and vocally.

In 1995, May began working towards a new solo album of covers tentatively named Heroes, in addition to working on various film and television projects and other collaborations.

From his last solo release in 1998 May has been performing as a solo artist, as part of an ensemble, and infrequently as Queen with Roger Taylor.

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.

In Queen's three-part vocal harmonies, May's was generally the lower-range backing vocal.

For more about Brian, visit his Website at –


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