Queen's lead guitarist and writer of "We Will Rock You"
Wrote more than 200 songs for Queen , his own band, and others
A Prolific songwriter and legendary guitarist, Brian May was born in Hampton Middlesex in July 1947. He received his first guitar at the age of 7. Two years later he and his father completed construction on the Red Special, a one of a kind guitar that would define May’s signature style.
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 both the UK and the world.
Queen’s debut album was released in 1973 with the self titled Queen. The album featured songs written by all four members of the band. The over the top, operatic style of the songs and performances built a cult following throughout Europe and eventually overseas and the 1974 releases of Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack were successful. Queen was soon one of rock music’s elite bands.
Over the next 10 years, Queen would write, tour and produce memorable albums. 1975’s A Night at the Opera reached #4 on the pop charts; 1977’s A Day at the Races reached #5; 1977’s News of the World reached #3. The band’s greatest success came with the 1980 release of The Game, which reached #1 on the pop charts. Queen’s last album, Made in Heaven was released on November 25, 1995, four years to the day after Freddie Mercury died of AIDS.
May also wrote and recorded four solo albums: 1983’s Star Fleet Project; 1993’s Back to the Light; 1994’s Live at the Brixton Academy and 1998’s Another World.
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.