Few people define the term “Renaissance Man” like Brian May. Born Brian Harold May July 19, 1947 in Hampton, London; May went on to study mathematics and physics at Imperial College London, eventually graduating with honors.
May formed the band Smile in 1968. The band mostly performed blues rock but produced limited content. After Smile disbanded in 1970, members May and Roger Taylor joined forces with Freddie Mercury and John Deacon to form the iconic rock group Queen.
May provided lead guitar, keyboard and backup vocals for the group. He also wrote many of the band’s more famous songs, including the international hits “We Will Rock You,” “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “I Want It All.”
Queen produced 15 studio albums and more than 60 singles. Possibly the best known single “Bohemian Rhapsody” off the album A Night at the Opera was ranked 163 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
While May explored side projects during Queen’s downtime, he committed himself to a solo career after Mercury’s death. He formed the Brian May Band in 1992 and continued touring worldwide. Since then he has performed with the surviving members of Queen and musicians ranging from Phil Collins to Lady Gaga.
In addition to being an accomplished guitarist, May has also earned a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College and is the current Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University. He has occasionally appeared on the BBC show “The Sky at Night,” a monthly documentary discussing astronomy and astrophysics, and co-authored the book “Bang! – The Complete History of the Universe.”
May is also an outspoken activist. He formed the group Save Me (named after the 1980 Queen song) to promote animal welfare and raise awareness regarding unnecessary animal cruelty.
- John Milligan / 98.5 WNCX