|Birth name||Brian Harold May|
|Born||19 July 1947|
Hampton Hill, London, England
|Education||Imperial College London (BSc, PhD)|
(m. 1974; div. 1988)
|Awards||Inductee, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2001)|
|Thesis||A survey of radial velocities in the zodiacal dust cloud (2008)|
Brian Harold May Queen.(born 19 July 1947) is an English musician and astrophysicist who rose to fame as the lead guitarist of the rock band
May was a co-founder of Queen with lead singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor. May 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 (bass player John Deacon joined to complete the line-up in 1971), Queen had become one of the biggest rock bands in the world with the success of the album A Night at the Opera and its single "Bohemian Rhapsody". From the mid-1970s until the early 1990s, Queen was constantly in the UK charts and played at some of the biggest venues in the world, including at Live Aid in 1985. As a member of Queen, May became regarded as a virtuoso musician. He was identified with a distinctive sound created through his layered guitar work, often using a home-built electric guitar called the Red Special. May wrote numerous hits for Queen, including "We Will Rock You", "I Want It All", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Flash", "Hammer to Fall", "Save Me", "Who Wants to Live Forever", "Too Much Love Will Kill You", and "The Show Must Go On".
Following the death of Mercury in 1991, aside from the 1992 tribute concert, the release of Made in Heaven (1995) and the 1997 tribute single to Mercury, "No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)" (written by May), 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 seventh-greatest guitarist of all time. He was ranked at No. 26 on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". In 2012, he was ranked the second-greatest guitarist in a Guitar World magazine readers poll. In 2001, May was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Queen and in 2018 the band received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
May was appointed a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005 for "services to the music industry and for charity work". May earned a PhD degree 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.
Brian Harold May was born 19 July 1947 in a nursing home at Hampton Hill, Twickenham, the only child of Ruth Irving (née Fletcher) and Harold May, who worked as a draughtsman at the Ministry of Aviation. His mother who was Scottish, married his father who was English at Moulin in Perthshire, Scotland in 1946. May attended the local Hanworth Road state primary school, and at the age of 11 won a scholarship to Hampton Grammar School, then a voluntary aided school. During this time, he formed his first band, named 1984 after George Orwell's novel of the same name, with vocalist and bassist Tim Staffell.
At Hampton Grammar School, he attained ten GCE Ordinary Levels and three GCE Advanced Levels in Physics, Mathematics, and Applied Mathematics. He studied Mathematics and Physics at Imperial College London, graduating with a BSc degree in Physics in 1968 with honours. Following his graduation, May received a personal invitation from Sir Bernard Lovell to work at the Jodrell Bank Observatory while continuing to prepare his doctorate. He declined, choosing instead to remain at Imperial College to avoid breaking from Smile, the London-based band he was in at the time.
May formed the band Smile in 1968. The group included Tim Staffell as the lead singer and bassist, and later, drummer Roger Taylor, who also went on to play for Queen. The band lasted for only two years, from 1968 to 1970, as Staffell departed in 1970, leaving the band with a catalogue of nine songs. Smile would reunite for several songs on 22 December 1992. Taylor's band The Cross were headliners, and he brought May and Staffell on to play "Earth" and "If I Were a Carpenter". May also performed several other songs that night.
In Queen's three-part vocal harmonies, May was generally the lower-range backing vocalist. On some of his songs, he sings the lead vocals, most notably the first verse of "Who Wants to Live Forever", the final verse of "Mother Love", the middle eight on "I Want It All" and "Flash's Theme", and full lead vocals on "Some Day One Day", "She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettoes)", "'39", "Good Company", "Long Away", "All Dead, All Dead", "Sleeping on the Sidewalk" and "Leaving Home Ain't Easy".
May frequently wrote songs for the band and has composed many hits such as "We Will Rock You", "Tie Your Mother Down", "I Want It All", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Who Wants to Live Forever" and "The Show Must Go On" as well as "Hammer to Fall", "Flash", "Now I'm Here", "Brighton Rock", "The Prophet's Song", "Las Palabras de Amor", "No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)" and "Save Me".
After the Live Aid concert in 1985, Mercury rang his band members and proposed writing a song together. The result was "One Vision", which was basically May on music (the Magic Years documentary shows how he came up with the opening section and the basic guitar riff); the lyrics were co-written by the four band members.
For their 1989 release album, The Miracle, the band had decided that all of the tracks would be credited to the entire band, no matter who had been the main writer. Interviews and musical analyses tend to help identify the input of each member on each track. May composed "I Want It All" for that album, as well as "Scandal" (based on his problems with the British press). For the rest of the album, he did not contribute much creatively. However, he helped in building the basis of "Party" and "Was It All Worth It" (both being predominantly Mercury's pieces) and created the "Chinese Torture" guitar riff.
Queen's subsequent album was Innuendo. May's contributions increased, although more in terms of arranging than actual writing in most cases. He did some of the arrangement for the heavy solo on the title track. He added vocal harmonies to "I'm Going Slightly Mad" and composed the solo for "These Are the Days of Our Lives", a song for which the four of them decided the keyboard parts together.
Two songs May had composed for his first solo album, "Headlong" and "I Can't Live With You", eventually ended up on the Queen project. His other composition was "The Show Must Go On", which he coordinated and was the primary composer. In recent years, he has supervised the remastering of Queen albums and various DVD and greatest hits releases. In 2004, he announced that he and drummer Roger Taylor were going on tour for the first time in 18 years as "Queen", along with Free/Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers. Billed as "Queen + Paul Rodgers", the band played throughout 2005 and 2006 in South Africa, Europe, Aruba, Japan, and North America and released a new album with Rodgers in 2008, entitled The Cosmos Rocks. This album was supported by a major tour.
Paul Rodgers left the band in May 2009. It was not until 2011 that another vocalist, Adam Lambert, was recruited. Queen + Adam Lambert toured Europe in 2012 and toured the world tour over 2014 and 2015. Their most recent outing was the 2016 Festival Tour. They also played the Big Ben New Year concert on New Year's Eve 2014 and New Year's Day 2015.
1983–1999: Side projects and solo works
During 1983, several members of Queen explored side projects. On 21 and 22 April in Los Angeles, May was in a studio with Eddie Van Halen, with no intention of recording anything. The result of the two-day session was a mini album titled Star Fleet Project, which was not originally going to be released. In 1986, May contributed to former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett's album Feedback 86, playing guitar on the track "Cassandra" and providing guitar and vocals for "Slot Machine", which May co-wrote. Although produced in 1986, the album was not released commercially until 2000. In the same year, May worked with actress Anita Dobson on her first album, most noted for the song "Anyone Can Fall in Love", which added lyrics to the EastEnders theme tune and reached number four on the UK Singles Chart in August 1986. May and Dobson married in 2000. In 1988, May contributed guitar solos to the song "When Death Calls" on Black Sabbath's 14th album Headless Cross, and the Living in a Box track "Blow The House Down" on the album Gatecrashing. Both albums were released in 1989.
After the tragic break-up of any band, it feels impossible to continue but I was really glad that Brian did launch a solo career. He had such a lot of music in him and a great deal more to give.
In the aftermath of the November 1991 death of Mercury, May chose to deal with his grief by committing himself as fully as possible to work, first by finishing his solo album, Back to the Light, and then touring worldwide to promote it. He frequently remarked in press interviews that this was the only form of self-prescribed therapy he could think of. According to Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott, "It was undoubtedly an enormous and terrible blow to lose someone he was so close to. Personally, I know it ripped the heart out of Brian, but having said that, he was in great spirits after the album was finished." Back to the Light featured the single "Too Much Love Will Kill You", on which he collaborated as a songwriter with Frank Musker and Elizabeth Lamers. A version with Freddie Mercury's vocals was later released on the Queen album Made in Heaven and won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically & Lyrically in 1996.
In late 1992, the Brian May Band was officially formed. May had loosely formed an earlier version of the band for 19 October 1991, when May took part in the Guitar Legends guitar festival in Seville, Spain. The line-up for his performance was May on vocals and lead guitar, Cozy Powell on drums and percussion, Mike Moran and Rick Wakeman on keyboards, and Maggie Ryder, Miriam Stockley and Chris Thompson on backing vocals. The original line-up was May on vocals and lead guitar, Powell on drums and percussion, Michael Casswell on guitar, Neil Murray on bass, and Ryder, Stockley and Thompson on backing vocals. This version of the band was together only during the South American support tour (supporting The B-52's and Joe Cocker) on five dates.
Afterwards, May made significant changes, feeling the group never quite gelled. May brought guitarist Jamie Moses on board to replace Mike Caswell. The backing vocalists, Ryder, Stockley and Thompson, were replaced by Catherine Porter and Shelley Preston. On 23 February 1993, this new line-up of The Brian May Band began its world tour in the US, supporting Guns N' Roses and headlining a few dates. The tour included dates in North America, Europe (support act: Valentine) and Japan. On 15 June 1993, the band did a show in London that would end up as The Brian May Band's only release as a collective, namely Live at the Brixton Academy. At the show, May would sing a few lines of "Love of My Life", and then, as Mercury used to, let the audience join in. After the tour ended 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. After Mercury's death, work on the album by Deacon and May began originally in 1992 but was left until a later date due to other commitments.
In 1995, May began working on a new solo album of covers tentatively titled Heroes, in addition to working on various film and television projects and other collaborations. May subsequently changed the approach from covers to focus on those collaborations and new material. The songs included Another World, and featured mainly Spike Edney, Cozy Powell, Neil Murray and Jamie Moses. On 5 April 1998, Cozy Powell was killed in a car accident on the M4 motorway near Bristol, England. This incident caused an unexpected disruption to the upcoming tour for The Brian May Band, which now needed a new drummer on short notice. Steve Ferrone was brought on to help May finish recording the drum tracks and join the band for the early stage promotional tour of five dates in Europe before the world tour. Following the early promotional tour, Eric Singer replaced him on the 1998 world tour.
The 1998 tour saw the brief introduction of a 'support act' known as T. E. Conway. Conway (Brian May in a wig and colourful suit playing the part of a teddy boy crooner) would play several 1950s rock and roll standards before May's 'arrival'. A bonus T. E. Conway EP entitled Retro Rock Special was attached to some pressings of the Another World album. The Conway character was retired at the end of the tour. In May 1999, May recorded lead guitars for the Guns N' Roses song "Catcher in the Rye" on Chinese Democracy, however, his performance was removed from the album by the time it was released in 2008.
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. On 22 October 2000, he made a guest appearance at the Motörhead 25th Anniversary show at Brixton Academy along with Eddie Clarke (former Motörhead guitarist) for the encore song "Overkill". As part of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II celebrations on 3 June 2002, May performed a guitar solo of "God Save the Queen" from the roof of Buckingham Palace, with the performance appearing on the 30th Anniversary DVD edition of A Night at the Opera. May played guitar on the song "Someone to Die For" on the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack in 2004.
On the Queen's birthday honours list of 2005, he was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire "for services to the music industry and for charity work". In the same year he played the guitar on the song Il mare... for Italian singer Zucchero Fornaciari, on his album Zu & Co., and he took part in the concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London held in May 2004, with the other guests of the Italian bluesman. May was a celebrity guest at the Genesis reunion concert at Twickenham Stadium in 2007. May and Genesis frontman Phil Collins worked together on two previous occasions, at The Prince's Trust Rock Gala in 1988 and the Party at the Palace in 2002, when Collins had played drums with Queen. In 2011 he contributed to a feature about Collins for FHM, praising him as "a great guy and an amazing drummer".
May worked extensively with stage actress and singer Kerry Ellis after he cast her in the musical We Will Rock You. He produced and arranged her debut studio album Anthems (2010), a follow-up to her extended play Wicked in Rock (2008), as well as appearing with Ellis at many public performances—playing guitar alongside her. He also contributed a guitar solo to Meat Loaf's Hang Cool, Teddy Bear album in exchange for the use of drummer John Miceli. Along with Elena Vidal, May released a historical book in 2009 entitled A Village Lost and Found: Scenes in Our Village. The book is an annotated collection of stereoscopic photographs taken by the Victorian era photographer T. R. Williams. It included a focusing stereoscope. May became an enthusiast of stereoscope photographs as a child, and first encountered the work of Williams during the late 1960s. In 2003, May announced a search to identify the actual location of the Scenes in Our Village images. In 2004 May reported that he had identified the location as the village of Hinton Waldrist in Oxfordshire.
On 20 May 2009, May and Queen bandmate Roger Taylor performed "We Are the Champions" live on the season finale of American Idol with winner Kris Allen and runner-up Adam Lambert providing a vocal duet. In November 2009, May appeared with Taylor on The X Factor, with Queen mentoring the contestants, then later performed "Bohemian Rhapsody". In April 2010, May founded the "Save Me" 2010 project to work against any proposed repeal of the British fox-hunting ban, and to promote animal rights in Britain. In February 2011, it was announced that May would tour with Kerry Ellis, playing 12 dates across the UK in May 2011.
On 18 April 2011, Lady Gaga confirmed that May would play guitar on her track "You and I" from her latest album Born This Way, released on 23 May 2011. May joined Gaga on stage during the performance of "You and I" at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. May performed with Tangerine Dream at the Starmus Festival on Tenerife in June 2011, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first spaceflight.
May performed "We Will Rock You" and "Welcome to the Black Parade" with the rock band My Chemical Romance at the Reading Festival on 26 August 2011. On 10 October, May made an appearance to celebrate the reunion of rock band The Darkness at an "intimate" 100 Club show with support from Dark Stares. A long-time fan of the group, May performed three songs onstage with The Darkness, including Queen's "Tie Your Mother Down", at the Hammersmith Apollo on their subsequent "comeback" tour.
At the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards on 6 November, Queen received the Global Icon Award, which Katy Perry presented to Brian May. Queen closed the awards ceremony, with Adam Lambert on vocals, performing "The Show Must Go On", "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions". The collaboration garnered a positive response from both fans and critics, resulting in speculation about future projects together. Queen + Adam Lambert played two shows at the Hammersmith Apollo, London, on 11 and 12 July 2012. Both shows sold out within 24 hours of tickets going on open sale. A third London date was added for 14 July. On 30 June, Queen + Lambert performed in Kyiv, Ukraine at a joint concert with Elton John for the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation. Queen also performed with Lambert on 3 July 2012 at Moscow's Olympic Stadium, and on 7 July 2012 at the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw, Poland.
In January 2012, May featured on N-Dubz frontman Dappy's solo single "Rockstar", providing "rumbling guitar riffs which culminate in an electrifying solo". The pair also collaborated on a performance of "We Will Rock You" for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.
Queen performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London on 12 August 2012. May performed part of the "Brighton Rock" solo before being joined by Taylor and solo artist Jessie J for a performance of "We Will Rock You". On 16 September 2012, May appeared at the Sunflower Jam charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall, performing alongside bassist John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin), drummer Ian Paice (of Deep Purple), and vocalists Bruce Dickinson (of Iron Maiden) and Alice Cooper.
May played guitar on the end credits song "One Voice" from the film A Dog Named Gucci. The song also features the talents of: Norah Jones, Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs, Lydia Loveless, Neko Case, and Kathryn Calder. It was produced by Dean Falcone, who wrote the film's score. "One Voice" was released on Record Store Day, 16 April 2016, with profits from the sale of the single going to benefit animal charities.
On 29 March 2019, May inducted Def Leppard into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He worked with contemporary metal band Five Finger Death Punch and blues artist Kenny Wayne Shepherd to re-record a new version of "Blue on Black" in support of The Gary Sinise Foundation in April 2019. The artists came together to merge country and mainstream rock to re-create the classic song originally co-written by Shepherd. At the end of the month he also performed songs including "All the Young Dudes" with Def Leppard's Joe Elliott at a Mott the Hoople show at the Shepherd's Bush Empire.
2004–2009: Queen + Paul Rodgers
At the end of 2004, May and Taylor announced that they would reunite and return to touring in 2005, with Paul Rodgers, the founder and former lead singer of Free and Bad Company. Brian May's website also stated that Rodgers would be "featured with" Queen as Queen + Paul Rodgers, not replacing the late Freddie Mercury. The retired John Deacon would not be participating.
Between 2005 and 2006 Queen and Paul Rodgers embarked on a world tour, the first leg being Europe and the second, Japan and the US in 2006. On 25 May 2006, Queen received the inaugural VH1 Rock Honors at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and May and Taylor were joined on stage with the Foo Fighters to perform a selection of Queen songs. On 15 August 2006, May confirmed through his website and fan club that Queen + Paul Rodgers would begin producing their first studio album in October, to be recorded at a "secret location". The album, titled The Cosmos Rocks, was released in Europe on 12 September 2008 and in the United States on 28 October 2008. Following the album's release, the band embarked on a tour through Europe and parts of the US, opening on Kharkiv's freedom square in front of 350,000 Ukrainian fans. The show in Ukraine was later released on DVD. Queen and Paul Rodgers officially split up on 12 May 2009. Rodgers did not rule out the possibility of working together again.
2011–present: Queen + Adam Lambert
Not long after performing with American Idol finalists Kris Allen and Adam Lambert during the programme's season finale in 2009, May and Taylor began contemplating the future of Queen after the group's amicable split with frontman Paul Rodgers. At the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards, Queen was presented with that year's Global Icon Award, accepted by May. As part of the broadcast, Queen performed a short set with Lambert, receiving an overwhelmingly welcoming response. Speculation regarding collaboration with Lambert soon arose, with the three formally announcing a short summer tour of Europe in 2012, including three dates at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, as well as shows in Ukraine, Russia and Poland. As with the partnership with Paul Rodgers, John Deacon did not participate.
The collaboration was revived in 2013, when the three performed together at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on 20 September. Five months later, May, Taylor and Lambert announced a 19-date summer tour of North America on Good Morning America. Because of ticket demand, five dates were soon added. In May 2014, shows in Australia and New Zealand were announced, along with festival performances in South Korea and Japan. The tour was extended to the UK and greater Europe in early 2015. The group performed together in South America in September 2015, including Queen's first performance at the Rock in Rio Festival since 1985.
In 2016, the group embarked across Europe and Asia on the Queen + Adam Lambert 2016 Summer Festival Tour. This included closing the Isle of Wight Festival in England on 12 June where they performed "Who Wants to Live Forever" as a tribute to the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida earlier that day. On 12 September they performed at the Park Hayarkon in Tel-Aviv, Israel for the first time in front of 58,000 people. In September 2018 the group had a residency in the MGM Park Theater in Las Vegas. Though the collaboration remains active, there are currently no plans to record a studio album, though the three are willing to do so in the future. On 31 March 2020, Queen + Adam Lambert confirmed that their touring dates planned for the year were postponed until 2021 because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
I can listen to any player and pantomime their sound, but I can't do Brian May. He's just walking on higher ground.
His tone immediately grabbed me. Brian has his own style and sound, so you can always tell his work. Even in 1971 he had incredible finesse, amazing fluidity.
May has been referred to as a virtuoso guitarist by many publications and musicians. He has featured in various music polls of great rock guitarists, and in 2011 was ranked number 26 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". In January 2007, the readers of Guitar World voted May's guitar solos on "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Brighton Rock" into the "top 50 Greatest Guitar Solos of all time" (No.20 and No.41 respectively). Former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar stated, "I thought Queen were really innovative and made some great sounding records... I like the rockin' stuff. I think Brian May has one of the great guitar tones on the planet, and I really, really love his guitar work." Justin Hawkins, lead guitarist of the Darkness, cites May as his earliest influence, saying "I really loved his tone and vibrato and everything. I thought his playing sounded like a singing voice. I wanted to be able to do that. Whenever I went to guitar lessons, I was always asking to learn Queen stuff."
American guitar virtuoso Steve Vai has spoken highly of May's work, saying:
In that whole genre, in that whole period—he's one of the most unique contributors. He doesn't get credit. Because what he does is so rich and so specific, and so deep, it fits so well in Queen music, you just feel it as part of that music. But when you break it down and when you look at it from a guitar player's point of view, it's unique, and nobody to this date could do what he does and make it sound like that. He is an iconic player. His tone, his choice of melody notes, he doesn't just do solos. His solos are melodies, and they're perfectly in place.
Most of May's electric guitar work live and in the studio is done on the Red Special, which he built with his father, an electronics engineer, when he was sixteen years old. It was built with wood from an 18th-century fireplace, and was composed of household items such as mother-of-pearl buttons, shelf edging, and motorbike valve springs. While May and his father were building the Red Special, May also produced plans to build a second guitar. However, the Red Special was so successful that May did not need to build another guitar. These plans were eventually given to guitar luthier Andrew Guyton in around 2004/05. Guyton made some slight modifications and the guitar was built. It was named "The Spade", as the body's shape resembled the form shown on playing cards. However, the guitar also came to be known as "The Guitar That Time Forgot".
May commented on the Red Special:
I like a big neck – thick, flat and wide. I lacquered the fingerboard with Rustin's Plastic Coating. The tremolo is interesting in that the arm's made from an old bicycle saddle bag carrier, the knob at the end's off a knitting needle and the springs are valve springs from an old motorbike.
In addition to using his home-made guitar he prefers to use coins (especially a sixpence from the farewell proof set of 1970), instead of a more traditional plastic plectrum, because he feels their rigidity gives him more control in playing. He is known to carry coins in his pockets specifically for this purpose.
A meticulous arranger, he focuses on multi-part harmonies, often more contrapuntal than parallel—a relative rarity for rock guitar. Examples are found in Queen's albums A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races, where he arranged a jazz band for guitar mini-orchestra ("Good Company"), a vocal canon ("The Prophet's Song") and guitar and vocal counterpoints ("Teo Torriatte").
May explored a wide variety of styles in guitar, including: sweep picking ("Was It All Worth It" "Chinese Torture"); tremolo ("Brighton Rock", "Stone Cold Crazy", "Death on Two Legs", "Sweet Lady", "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Get Down Make Love", "Dragon Attack"); tapping ("Bijou", "It's Late", "Resurrection", "Cyborg", "Rain Must Fall", "Business", "China Belle", "I Was Born To Love You"); slide guitar ("Drowse", "Tie Your Mother Down"); Hendrix sounding licks ("Liar", "Brighton Rock"); tape-delay ("Brighton Rock", "White Man"); and melodic sequences ("Bohemian Rhapsody", "Killer Queen", "These Are the Days of Our Lives"). Some of his solos and orchestral parts were composed by Freddie Mercury, who then asked May to bring them to life ("Bicycle Race", "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon", "Killer Queen", "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy"). May also performed notable acoustic works, including the finger-picked solo of "White Queen" (from Queen II), "Love of My Life" and the skiffle-influenced "'39" (both from A Night at the Opera).
Aided by the uniqueness of the Red Special, May was often able to create strange and unusual sound effects. For example, he was able to imitate an orchestra in the song "Procession"; in "Get Down, Make Love" he was able to create various sound effects with his guitar; in "Good Company" he used his guitar to mimic a trombone, a piccolo and several other instruments for the song's Dixieland jazz band feel. Queen used a "No synthesizers were used on this album" sleeve note on their early albums to make this clear to the listeners. May also used his guitar to create the chime effect in "Bohemian Rhapsody".
May's early influences included Cliff Richard and the Shadows, who he says were "the most metallic thing(s) out at the time." Many years later he gained his opportunity to play on separate occasions with Cliff Richard and Shadows lead guitarist Hank Marvin. He has collaborated with Cliff Richard on a re-recording of the Cliff Richard and the Shadows (then known as the Drifters) 1958 hit "Move It" on the Cliff Richard duets album Two's Company which was released on 6 November 2006.
May always stated that the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who and Jimi Hendrix were the greatest influences on him. On the Queen for an Hour interview on BBC Radio 1 in 1989, May listed Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton as his guitar heroes. In a 1991 interview for Guitar World magazine, May referred to The Who as "my inspiration", and on seeing Led Zeppelin stated, "We used to look at those guys and think, 'That's the way it should be done.'" May told Guitarist in 2004: "I don't think anyone has epitomised riff writing better than Jimmy Page – he's one of the great brains of rock music".
May also cites Rory Gallagher as a major influence, saying "He was a magician. He was one of the very few people of that time who could make his guitar do anything, it seemed. I remember looking at that battered Stratocaster and thinking, 'How does that (sound) come out of there?'" According to May, "...it was Rory that gave me my sound, and that's the sound I still have." May was also influenced by Steve Hackett, guitarist of the progressive rock band Genesis, in particular his harmony guitar solo at the end of the band's epic 1971 song "The Musical Box". Hackett said of May, "Equally, his energetic approach to guitar inspired me."
From 1975 onwards, May had some replicas made of the Red Special, some of which were also used for live and recording purposes, others being mainly spares. The most famous replicas were made by John Birch in 1975 (May smashed it during a concert in the States in 1982), Greco BM90 (featured in the promo video of "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy" in 1977), Guild (back-up from 1984 to 1993), Fryers (1997–1998, used both live and in the studio) and Guyton (back-up from 2003 to present). On stage, May used to carry at least one backup guitar (in case he broke a string). He occasionally would use others for specific songs or parts, such as alternate tunings. Currently, May owns a company that makes guitars whose design is modelled after the original Red Special guitar.
- July 1973 – May 1974: Fender Stratocaster CBS era (thought to be a 1972)
- October 1974 – May 1975: Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, and the Stratocaster from the previous tour.
- November 1975 – May 1976: Same two guitars as before, plus a natural finish John Birch replica of the Red Special.
- September 1976: Same three as before, plus a Martin D-18 acoustic for "'39".
- January 1977 – August 1979: Just the Birch replica plus an Ovation Pacemaker 12-string acoustic on some numbers ("'39", "Love of My Life", "Dreamer's Ball").
- November 1979 – June 1982: Birch replica (back-up), Fender Telecaster ("Crazy Little Thing Called Love" 2nd verse, middle-eight and solo), Ovation (acoustic numbers).
- July – November 1982: Added a Gibson Flying V as second back-up. On 9 August 1982, May smashed the Birch guitar, so the Flying V became the only spare.
- August – October 1984: The Flying V became a second back-up again as his main spare was the Guild replica. He also used Roger Taylor's Gibson Chet-Atkins Classical Electric.
- July 1985 – August 1986: Gibson Flying V no longer used. The rest remained the same. May used a Gibson Chet-Atkins guitar on the 1986 Magic Tour.
- In 2012, he received a double-neck replica of the Red Special, with the second neck having 12-strings. He used this guitar at a few gigs with Adam Lambert now being able to play the 12-string part from the studio version of "Under Pressure" live.
He currently has a Guild 12-string to replace his Ovation Pacemaker. Some of the non-RS electric guitars he used in the studio included:
- Burns Double Six on "Long Away" (1976) and "Under Pressure" (1981).
- Fender Telecaster on "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (1979). May used it for the video (but not the recordings) of "Back Chat" (1982).
- Gibson Firebird on "Hammer to Fall" and "Tear It Up" (album versions only, not on stage).
- Ibanez JS on "Nothing But Blue" (1991).
- Parker Fly on "Mother Love" (1993–1995).
For acoustic, he favoured Ovation, Martin, Tōkai Hummingbird, Godin and Guild. On a couple of videos, he also used some different electric guitars: a Stratocaster copy on "Play the Game" (1980) and a Washburn RR2V on "Princes of the Universe" (1986).
In 1984, Guild released the first official Red Special replica for mass production and made some prototypes specifically for May. However, the solid-body construction (the original RS has hollow cavities in the body) and the pick-ups (DiMarzio) that were not a replica of the Burns TriSonic did not make May happy. The production of the guitars stopped after just 300 guitars. In 1993, Guild made a second replica of the RS, made in just 1000 copies, of which May has some and used as a back-up. At the moment, he uses the two guitars made by Greg Fryer—the luthier who restored the Old Lady in 1998—as back-up. They are almost identical to the original, except for the Fryer logo on the headstock (May's original one has a sixpence).
Amplifiers and effects
I've never heard a guitar sound so loud! He had a wall of AC30s cranked, and it was like a jumbo jet taking off. It was phenomenal.
May has used Vox AC30 amplifiers almost exclusively since a meeting with his long-time hero Rory Gallagher at a gig in London during the late 1960s/early 1970s. In the mid-1970s he used six of them, with an Echoplex delay (with extended delay time) plugged into a separate amplifier, and a second Echoplex plugged into yet another amp; he used a homemade booster, his only effects pedal, which was on all the time. His choice is the model AC30TBX, the top-boost version with Blue Alnico speakers, and he runs the amp at full volume on the Normal channel.
May also customises his amps by removing the Brilliant and Vib-trem channels (leaving only the circuitry for the Normal). This alters the tone slightly, with a gain addition of 6–7 dB. He always used a treble booster which, along with the AC30 and his custom 'Deacy Amp' transistor amp, built by Queen bass player John Deacon, went a long way in helping to create many of his signature guitar tones. He used the Dallas Rangemaster for the first Queen albums, up to A Day at the Races. Effects designer Pete Cornish built for him the TB-83 (32 dB of gain) that was used for all the remaining Queen albums. He switched in 2000 to the Fryer's booster, which actually gives less boost than the TB-83.
When performing live, May uses banks of Vox AC30 amplifiers, keeping some amps with only guitar and others with all effects such as delay, flanger and chorus. He has a rack of 14 AC30s, which are grouped as Normal, Chorus, Delay 1, Delay 2. On his pedal board, May has a custom switch unit made by Cornish and subsequently modified by Fryer that allows him to choose which amps are active. He uses a BOSS pedal from the '70s, the Chorus Ensemble CE-1, which can be heard in "In The Lap of The Gods" (Live at Wembley '86) or "Hammer to Fall" (slow version played live with P. Rodgers). Next in the chain, he uses a Foxx Foot Phaser ("We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions", "Keep Yourself Alive", etc.), and two delay machines to play his trademark solo in "Brighton Rock".
Piano and other instruments
As a child, May was trained on classical piano. Although Freddie Mercury was the band's primary pianist, May would step in occasionally (such as on "Save Me" and "Flash"). He mostly used Freddie Mercury's 1972 Steinway piano. From 1979 onwards, he also played synthesisers, organ ("Wedding March", "Let Me Live") and programmed drum-machines for both Queen and outside projects (such as producing other artists and his own solo records). In the studio, May used Yamaha DX7 synths for the opening sequence of "One Vision" and the backgrounds of "Who Wants to Live Forever" (also on stage), "Scandal" and "The Show Must Go On".
The first instrument May learned to play was the banjolele. He used a "genuine George Formby Ukulele-Banjo" in "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" and "Good Company". Occasionally, May would also record on other string instruments such as harp (one chord per take, then copied and pasted by the engineer to make it sound like a continuous performance) and bass (on some demos and many songs in his solo career, and the Queen + Paul Rodgers album). May was keen on using some toys as instruments as well. He used a Yamaha plastic piano in "Teo Torriatte" and a toy mini koto in "The Prophet's Song".
May is also an accomplished singer. From Queen's Queen II to The Game, May contributed lead vocals to at least one song per album. May co-composed a mini-opera with Lee Holdridge, Il Colosso, for Steve Barron's 1996 film, The Adventures of Pinocchio. May performed the opera with Jerry Hadley, Sissel Kyrkjebo, and Just William. On-screen, it was performed entirely by puppets.
May studied physics and mathematics at Imperial College London, graduating with a BSc (Hons) degree and ARCS in physics with Upper Second-Class Honours. From 1970 to 1974, he studied for a PhD degree at Imperial College, studying reflected light from interplanetary dust and the velocity of dust in the plane of the Solar System. When Queen began to have international success in 1974, he abandoned his doctoral studies, but nonetheless co-authored two peer reviewed research papers, which were based on his observations at the Teide Observatory in Tenerife.
In October 2006, May re-registered for his doctorate at Imperial College and he submitted his thesis in August 2007 (one year earlier than he estimated it would take to complete). As well as writing up the previous work he had done, May had to review the work on zodiacal dust undertaken during the intervening 33 years, which included the discovery of the zodiacal dust bands by NASA's IRAS satellite. After a viva voce, the revised thesis (titled "A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud") was approved in September 2007, some 37 years after it had been commenced. He was able to submit his thesis only because of the minimal amount of research on the topic during the intervening years and has described the subject as one that became in-demand again in the 2000s. In his doctoral research, he investigated radial velocity using absorption spectroscopy and doppler spectroscopy of zodiacal light using a Fabry–Pérot interferometer based at the Teide Observatory in Tenerife. His research was initially supervised by Jim Ring, Ken Reay and in the latter stages by Michael Rowan-Robinson. He graduated at the awards ceremony of Imperial College held in the Royal Albert Hall on 14 May 2008.
In October 2007, May was appointed a Visiting Researcher in Imperial College and he continues his interest in astronomy and involvement with the Imperial Astrophysics Group. He is co-author, with Sir Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott, of Bang! – The Complete History of the Universe and The Cosmic Tourist. May appeared on the 700th episode of The Sky at Night hosted by Sir Patrick Moore, along with Chris Lintott, Jon Culshaw, Professor Brian Cox, and the Astronomer Royal Martin Rees who on departing the panel, told Brian May, who was joining it, "I don't know a scientist who looks as much like Isaac Newton as you do." May was also a guest on the first episode of the third series of the BBC's Stargazing Live, on 8 January 2013.
On 17 November 2007, May was appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, and installed in 2008 having also been awarded an honorary fellowship from the university for his contribution to astronomy and services to the public understanding of science. He held the post until 2013. Asteroid 52665 Brianmay was named after him on 18 June 2008 on the suggestion of Patrick Moore (probably influenced by the asteroid's provisional designation of 1998 BM30).
In 2014, May co-founded Asteroid Day with Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, B612 Foundation COO Danica Remy and German filmmaker Grigorij Richters. Asteroid Day is a global awareness campaign where people from around the world come together to learn about asteroids and what we can do to protect our planet. May was a guest at the 2016 Starmus Festival where he also performed on stage with composer Hans Zimmer. The theme was Beyond The Horizon: A Tribute To Stephen Hawking.
During the New Horizons Pluto flyby NASA press conference held on 17 July 2015 at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, May was introduced as a science team collaborator. He told the panel "You have inspired the world." On 31 December 2018 through 1 January 2019, May was in attendance at the watch party for the New Horizons flyby of the Kuiper belt object, 486958 Arrokoth, and performed an updated version of his "New Horizons" celebratory song.
From 1974 to 1988, May was married to Christine Mullen. They had three children: James (born 15 June 1978), Louisa (born 22 May 1981), and Emily Ruth (born 18 February 1987). They separated in 1988. May had met actress Anita Dobson in 1986. She inspired him to write the 1989 hit "I Want It All". They married on 18 November 2000.
He has said in interviews that he suffered from severe depression in the late 1980s and early 1990s, to the point of contemplating suicide, for reasons having to do with his troubled first marriage, his perceived failure as a husband and father, his father Harold's death, and Freddie Mercury's illness and death.
According to The Sunday Times Rich List of 2019, May is worth £160 million. He has homes in London and Windlesham, Surrey. May's father Harold was a long-time heavy cigarette smoker. As a result, May dislikes smoking, to the point where he was already prohibiting smoking indoors at his concerts before many countries imposed smoking bans. He is an active animal rights advocate, and was appointed a vice-president of animal welfare charity, the RSPCA, in September 2012. A vegan, May has stated that meat eating is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. May describes himself as agnostic.
May is a long-term champion of woodland as a haven and "corridor" for wildlife, both in Surrey, where he has a house and elsewhere. In 2012, he bought land threatened by building development at Bere Regis, Dorset and, in 2013 and with the enthusiastic support of local villagers, initiated a project to create an area of woodland, now called May's Wood (or "the Brian May Wood"). The wood consists of 157 acres (64 ha), formerly under the plough, planted by May's team of co-workers with 100,000 trees. May's Wood is said to be flourishing.
In 2013, a new species of the genus Heteragrion (Odonata: Zygoptera) from Brazil was named Heteragrion brianmayi—one of four Heteragrion flatwing damselflies named after the bandmates, paying tribute to the 40th anniversary of Queen's founding.
May has formed a group to promote animal welfare. Though a Conservative Party voter most of his life, he has stated that their policies on fox hunting and the culling of badgers meant he did not vote for them in the 2010 UK general election. His group, Save Me (named after the May-written Queen song), campaigns for the protection of all animals against unnecessary, cruel and degrading treatment, with a particular emphasis on preventing hunting of foxes and the culling of badgers. The group's primary concern is to ensure that the Hunting Act 2004 and other laws protecting animals are retained in situ.
In an interview in September 2010 with Stephen Sackur for the BBC's HARDtalk program, May said that he would rather be remembered for his animal rights work than for his music or scientific work. May is a staunch supporter of the RSPCA, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the League Against Cruel Sports, PETA UK and the Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue. In March 2012, May contributed the foreword to a target paper published by the think tank the Bow Group, urging the government to reconsider its plans to cull thousands of badgers to control bovine TB, stating that the findings of Labour's major badger culling trials, several years earlier, show that culling does not work. The paper was authored by Graham Godwin-Pearson with contributions by leading tuberculosis scientists, including Lord Krebs.
In 2013, May joined French guitar player Jean-Pierre Danel for a charity Danel launched for the benefit of animal rights in France. The guitarists signed guitars and art photos together, and were joined by Hank Marvin.
In May 2013, May teamed up with actor Brian Blessed and Flash cartoonist Jonti "Weebl" Picking, as well as animal rights groups including the RSPCA, to form Team Badger, a "coalition of organisations that have teamed up to fight the planned cull of badgers". With Weebl and Blessed, May recorded a single, "Save the Badger Badger Badger"—a mashup of Weebl's viral 2003 Flash cartoon meme, "Badger Badger Badger", and Queen's "Flash", featuring vocals by Blessed. On 1 September 2013, "Save the Badger Badger Badger" charted at No. 79 on the UK Singles Chart, No. 39 on the UK iTunes chart and No. 1 on the iTunes Rock chart. In June 2013 naturalist Sir David Attenborough and rock guitarist Slash joined May to form a supergroup, Artful Badger and Friends, and released a song dedicated to badgers, "Badger Swagger".
Prior to the 2015 general election, it was reported that May was considering standing as an independent Member of Parliament. It was also revealed that May had started a "Common Decency" project "to re-establish common decency in our lives, work and Parliament". May said he wanted to "get rid of the current government" and wished to see a House of Commons containing "individuals voting according to their conscience". May was one of several celebrities who endorsed the parliamentary candidacy of the Green Party's Caroline Lucas at the election. He also endorsed a Conservative Party candidate, Henry Smith, on the grounds of his animal welfare record.
In July 2015, May criticised UK Prime Minister David Cameron for giving Members of Parliament a free vote on amending the ban on fox hunting in England and Wales. During a live television interview, he described the pro-hunting organisation the Countryside Alliance as "a bunch of lying bastards" for their support for a change to the law. The government postponed the vote following the intervention of the Scottish National Party's Westminster MPs, who committed to vote to keep the ban as it existed. May told anti-hunt protesters in a rally outside Parliament that it was "a very, very important day for our democracy" but added "we have not yet won the war, there's no room for complacency".
In June 2017, May endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 general election. May shared an article on Twitter by The Independent headlined "Jeremy Corbyn says Fox hunting is 'barbarity' and pledges to keep it banned" and captioned it: "Well, I guess that just about clinches it !! Anyone see any good reason not to prefer the evidently decent Corbyn over the weak and wobbly Mrs May? Bri".
In October 2018, May said, "I don't like all this separatist stuff and you know this sort of illusion that we can all stand on our own, to me the future lies in co-operation. I get up every day and put my head in my hands about Brexit – I think it's the stupidest thing we ever tried to do." He also said that Prime Minister Theresa May was "driven by vanity and thirst for power".
In the run-up to the 2019 United Kingdom general election May criticised what he saw as the poor conduct of the media and declined to endorse either candidate, stating that he found it "impossible" to vote for either Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson. After the election in which the Conservatives won a majority, May vowed to continue fighting for animal rights but in an Instagram and blog post he urged his followers to congratulate Johnson and "wish Boris a decent chance to rebuild Britain" before praising reforms to animal welfare laws made by Conservative Party Environment Secretary Michael Gove. In 2021 May criticised Johnson for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, calling it inadequate.
May has had a lifelong interest in collecting Victorian stereophotography. In 2009, with co-author Elena Vidal, he published his second book, A Village Lost and Found, on the work of English stereophotography innovator T. R. Williams. He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Saxby Medal in 2012 for achievement in the field of three-dimensional imaging.
May made a significant technical contribution to the book to accompany the exhibition 'Stereoscopic Photographs of Pablo Picasso by Robert Mouzillat', held at the Holburne Museum in Bath, England, from February to June 2014. The book provides photographs of Picasso in his studio, at a bullfight at Arles, and in his garden. May's 3D Owl viewer is used to view the photographs in 3D.
The purchase of his first card in 1973 started May on a lifelong and worldwide search for Les Diableries, which are stereoscopic photographs depicting scenes of daily life in Hell. On 10 October 2013 the book Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell by Brian May, Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming was published.
In 2017, May published Queen in 3-D, chronicling the group's 50-year history. It contains over 300 of his own stereoscopic photos and is the first book about the band published by one of its members. Included with the book is May's patented OWL Stereoscopic Viewer. As part of May's role as a collaborator with NASA's science team on the New Horizons mission, he worked on the first stereoanaglyph based on images of 486958 Arrokoth that were captured by the spacecraft.
Portrayal in film
In the 2018 biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody, he was portrayed by Gwilym Lee. May himself served as a creative and musical consultant for the film, and worked especially closely with Lee.
- "Keep Yourself Alive" (1973) vocal bridge with Taylor, rest sung by Mercury
- "Some Day, One Day" (1974)
- "She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettoes)" (1974)
- "'39" (1975)
- "Good Company" (1975)
- "Long Away" (1976)
- "All Dead, All Dead" (1977)
- "Sleeping on the Sidewalk" (1977)
- "Fat Bottomed Girls" (1978) chorus vocals
- "Leaving Home Ain't Easy" (1978)
- "Sail Away Sweet Sister" (1980) Mercury sings the bridge
- "Flash" (1980) with Freddie Mercury
- "Put Out the Fire" lead on falsetto lines
- "Las Palabras de Amor" (1982) harmony vocals on chorus
- "I Go Crazy" (1984) lead bridge vocals
- "Who Wants to Live Forever" (1986) first verse, harmony and other lines throughout
- "I Want It All" (1989) with Mercury
- "Lost Opportunity" (1991)
- "Mother Love" (1995) lead vocals on final verse
- "Let Me Live" (1995) lead vocals on third verse
- "No-One but You" (1997) with Taylor
- El Vampiro Bajo el Sol (with Paralamas do Sucesso and Fito Paez) (1994)
- Anthems (with Kerry Ellis) (2010)
- Acoustic by Candlelight (with Kerry Ellis) (2013)
- Golden Days (with Kerry Ellis) (2017)
- Blue on Black (with Five Finger Death Punch, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Brantley Gilbert) (2019)
- May, Brian Harold (2008). A survey of radial velocities in the zodiacal dust cloud (PDF) (PhD thesis). Imperial College London. Bibcode:2008srvz.book.....M. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-77706-1. hdl:10044/1/1333. ISBN 9780387777054. OCLC 754716941. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 September 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.443586
- Brian May at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- May, Brian; Bradley, Simon (2014). Brian May's Red Special. Prion Books. ISBN 978-1-78097-276-3.
- "BBC News: Planet Rock Radio poll". 10 July 2005. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- "100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time: Brian May". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 September 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Readers Poll Results: The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Guitarworld.com. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
- Blistein, Jon. "Queen, Tina Turner to Receive Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 19 June 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- "Queen star May hails Muse album". News.bbc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "May installed as uni chancellor". BBC. 14 April 2008. Archived from the original on 18 October 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
- Danthropology (30 July 2015). "Queen's Brian May is a member of NASA's New Horizon team". Patheos.com. Archived from the original on 27 August 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- "Smithsonian.com – Smithsonian Magazine". Smithsonianmag.com. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- "European Space Agency to join Brian May's Asteroid Day". BBC. 9 February 2016. Archived from the original on 9 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- May, Brian (12 July 2010). "Kill the cull, not the badgers". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 26 April 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
- "Famous birthdays for July 19: Brian May, Anthony Edwardsl". United Press International. 19 July 2019. Archived from the original on 19 July 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
Queen guitarist Brian May in 1947 (age 72)
- "May, Dr Brian Harold". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required)(subscription required)
- Tremlett, George (1976). The Queen Story. Futura Publications. p. 12. ISBN 0860074129.
- Huntman, Ruth (17 October 2014). "Brian May: Me, my dad and 'the old lady'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Brian's Soapbox April 2013". brianmay.com. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
- "I'm Exactly Half English and Half Scot..." Brian's Soapbox. 13 September 2014. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- Hodkinson, Mark (1995). Queen: The Early Years. Omnibus Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-84449-012-7.
- "The dude in the cardigan with the guitar". Archived from the original on 19 August 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2008.
- Moore, Matthew (22 May 2008). "List of lists: Celebrities and remarkable people". Telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Tremlett, George (1976). The Queen Story. Futura Publications. p. 13. ISBN 0860074129.
- "Brian May". 15 January 2011. Archived from the original on 21 May 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
- "Queen star hands in science PhD". BBC News. 3 August 2007. Archived from the original on 25 March 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2007.
- "Tim Staffell Biography". 30 September 2011. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- "The 10 best Queen songs Freddie Mercury didn't sing". Louder. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- "Top 10 Brian May Queen songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- "Queen – One Vision". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 7 April 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Purvis, Georg (2007). Queen Complete Works. Richmond: Reynolds & Hearn. p. 67
- Prato, Greg. "Innuendo overview". allmusic.com. Archived from the original on 17 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- "Readers' Poll: 10 Greatest Queen Songs". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- "2008 The Cosmos Rocks Tour". Ultimatequeen.co.uk. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Paul Rodgers, Queen Split: "It Was Never a Permanent Arrangement"". Rollingstone.com. 13 May 2009. Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- Sean Michaels (21 February 2012). "Queen's show goes on as Adam Lambert replaces Freddie Mercury". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
- "BBC – Queen and Adam Lambert to perform New Year's Eve concert broadcast on BBC One – Media Centre". BBC.co.uk. Archived from the original on 23 October 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
- VHND (31 October 2013). "'Brian May and Friends: Star Fleet Project' with EddieVvan Halen". vhnd.com. Archived from the original on 11 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
- Eames, Tom (26 April 2019). "Brian May: 9 interesting facts about the Queen guitarist". smoothradio.com. Archived from the original on 22 December 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
- "Gatecrashing credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 October 2019
- Jackson, Laura (2011). "Brian May: The Definitive Biography" Archived 10 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Hachette. Retrieved 26 April 2012
- "Back to the Light – Brian May | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 8 December 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
- Horne, Nicky. "Queen – Royal Legend: Interviews: Brian May: Talk Radio '98". Queen.musichall.cz. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Nigel Hunter (21 June 1997). "Anniversaries Abound at Novello Awards". Billboard. p. 48. Archived from the original on 13 March 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
- "Guitar Legends – Expo '92 Sevilla". jazzbluesrock.online. Archived from the original on 29 September 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
- Lemieux, Patrick (2018). The Queen Chronology (2nd ed.). Lulu. p. 137.
- "1993 Back To The Light North American Tour (1st leg)". Ultimatequeen.co.uk. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Brian May-Love Of My Life Live At The Brixton Academy 1993" – via www.youtube.com.
- Buckley, Peter (2003). "The Rough Guide to Rock". p.837. Rough Guides, 2003
- "Made in Heaven". Queenonline.com. Archived from the original on 5 July 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Brian May at IMDb
- White, Adam (19 July 2017). "From badgers to flamboyant alter egos: a guide to the strange obsessions of Queen's Brian May". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 21 November 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
- Anthony, James (7 November 2008). "Brian May dropped from Guns N' Roses album". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
- "Palace party draws 15m viewers". BBC. Retrieved 27 September 2016
- "A Night at the Opera, 30th Anniversary CD/DVD". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 27 March 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
- "Billboard Albums: Spider-Man 2". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- "No. 57665". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2005. p. 8.
- Negrin, David. "A Conversation With Michael Hobson From The Music.Com". World of Genesis. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
- Fitzpatrick, Rob. "'I'm The Antichrist of Music' Immensely popular for decades, yet a permanent resident on music's outermost fringes of fashionability, Phil Collins would like to apologise. Are you ready to forgive?". FHM. April 2011.
- May, Brian; Vidal, Elena (22 December 2009). A Village Lost and Found (book with stereoscopic viewer). Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-0-7112-3039-2. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
- Brian May (1 April 2004). "New light on T.R. Williams: "Our Village" found at last!". Stereoworld magazine. Archived from the original on 2 August 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- Kaufman, Gil (20 May 2009). "Kris Allen, Adam Lambert Tear Up Queen's 'We Are The Champions'". MTV. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- "Save Me 2010 | Home – Welcome". Save-me.org.uk. Duck Productions. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- "2011 Brian May Concertography: Kerry Ellis 'Anthems' Tour". Ultimatequeen.co.uk. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Corner, Lewis (22 July 2011). "Lady Gaga Confirms new single to be Yoü and I". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- Dinh, James (5 May 2011). "Lady Gaga Bends Gender, Minds With VMA Monologue". MTV (MTV Networks). Archived from the original on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Sonic Universe featuring Brian May on 25th April". The Official Queen Website (Press release). Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- "My Chemical Romance joined by Queen's Brian May at Reading Festival". NME.COM. 26 August 2011. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "The Darkness Wow The 100 Club At Intimate Show". JustinHawkinsRocks.co.uk. 11 October 2011. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- "The Darkness @ 100 Club 10th October 2011". Planet Music Reviews. 13 October 2011. Archived from the original on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- "Queen Guitarist Brian May Joins The Darkness On Stage". Ultimate Classic Rock. 26 December 2011. Archived from the original on 12 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- "Queen's Brian May Performs with the Darkness In London". Blabber Mouth. 26 December 2011. Archived from the original on 12 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- "Katy and Adam Honour Queen". MTV Australia. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Adam Lambert to perform with Queen at Sonisphere". BBC News. 20 February 2012. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Press Release: Queen To Play Hammersmith". 12 April 2012. Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- "Queen + Adam Lambert Playing Four Shows This Summer". Billboard. 9 April 2012. Archived from the original on 3 July 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Queen + Adam Lambert Hammersmith Shows – Sold Out". 19 April 2012. Archived from the original on 20 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "After 'Instant' Sell-out, Queen and Adam Lambert Add Third London Dat…". Archive.today. 8 July 2012. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- "Queen Rock Kiev With Adam Lambert". Ultimate Classic Rock. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Press Release: Queen + Adam Lambert Will Rock Moscow". 28 February 2012. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "Adam Lambert has second show with Queen". USA Today. Archived from the original on 30 April 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Press Release: Queen + Adam Lambert Announce Poland Show". 27 April 2012. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "Dappy says his hook-up with Queen's Brian May 'pays tribute to Amy Winehouse and 27 club'". NME. 18 January 2012. Archived from the original on 12 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- "Dappy ft. Brian May: 'Rockstar' – Single review". Digital Spy. 16 February 2012. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- "Dappy & Brian May perform We Will Rock You in the Live Lounge". BBC. 27 February 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
- "Olympics Closing Ceremony: Jessie J Joins Queen For 'We Will Rock You' Performance". Capital. 12 August 2012. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Olympics closing ceremony – playlist". Telegraph.co.uk. 12 August 2012. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden and Queen band members perform at charity rock show". NME.COM. 17 September 2012. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Tribbey, Ralph (19 March 2016). "DVD & Blu-Ray Release Report: Filmmaker Gorman Bechard's A Dog Named Gucci To Make Its DVD Debut On Apr. 19". DVD & Blu-Ray Release Report. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- "Brian Inducts Def Leppard To Rock n' Roll Hall Of Fame". Queen Online. 30 March 2019. Archived from the original on 6 May 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "Brian May just released a new song with metal band Five Finger Death Punch". Raw Music TV. April 10, 2019. Archived from the original on April 12, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
- "Brian May reveals what he really thinks about Joe Elliott and Def Leppard". MetalHead Zone. 28 April 2019.
- "Queen News March 2006". brianmay.com. Archived from the original on 29 August 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
- "Queen + Paul Rodgers Concertography". Ultimatequeen.co.uk. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Queen & Foo Fighters "We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions" Live at Rock Honors 2006". vh1.com. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- May, Brian (15 August 2006). "USA Convention Story and Queen and Paul Rodgers Heading Towards a Studio Assignation". Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
- "Queen & Paul Rodgers – Live In Ukraine DVDs!". Dailyrecord.co.uk. Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Paul Rodgers, Queen Split: "It Was Never a Permanent Arrangement"". idiomag. 13 May 2009. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- "Queen and Paul Rodgers split". idiomag. 14 May 2009. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- "Lineup announced for the 2013 iHeartRadio festival". Cbsnews.com. 15 July 2013. Archived from the original on 16 December 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Adam Lambert to join Queen for North American Tour". ABC News. Archived from the original on 20 June 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- "Queen and Adam Lambert's Tour Opener: 5 Things We Learned". Rolling Stone. 20 June 2014. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- "Queen and Adam Lambert Announce 2014 Australian Tour". ARIA Charts. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- "Queen with Lambert announce NZ show". Stuff.co.nz. Archived from the original on 4 September 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- "Press Release: Queen + Adam Lambert To Play Korea at Super Sonic 2014". QueenOnline. Archived from the original on 9 June 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- "Press Release: Queen + Adam Lambert Confirm Summer Sonic 2014 in Japan". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- "Queen + Adam Lambert European Tour: Now On General Sale / New London Date Added!". QueenOnline. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- "Queen + Adam Lambert to Rock in Rio – Tickets Now On General Sale". QueenOnline. Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- "Isle of Wight Festival: Queen pay tribute to Orlando shooting victims". BBC. 14 June 2016. Archived from the original on 27 August 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- "After Four Decades, Queen Rock Israel with Help From Adam Lambert". Billboard. 16 September 2016. Archived from the original on 3 October 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- "Queen + Adam Lambert announces Las Vegas residency". KTNV-TV. 7 May 2018. Archived from the original on 6 October 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
- "Brian May: Queen Is Not Working On New Music With Singer Adam Lambert". BlabberMouth.net. 22 May 2015. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- Simpson, George (31 March 2020). "Queen and Adam Lambert UK tour Postponed to 2021: Brian May and Roger Taylor 'Devastated'". express.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- "100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. 18 December 2015. Archived from the original on 22 March 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- "Queen". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007.
- Sharpe-Young, Garry. Brian May. RockDetector. Archived from the original on 4 September 2015.
- Coleman, Mark (9 October 1986). "A Kind of Magic". Rolling Stone (484). Archived from the original on 1 October 2007.
- Donaghy, James (17 February 2007). "Not another axe to grind". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 4 March 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
- Phil Sutcliffe, Peter Hince, Reinhold Mack Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock Archived 2 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine p.164. Voyageur Press, 2009
- "50 Greatest Guitar Solos". Guitarworld.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Gluckin, Tzvi (15 February 2018). "The Darkness' Justin and Dan Hawkins Swan On". Premier Guitar. Archived from the original on 26 May 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
- "Steve Vai: Brian May Doesn't Get Enough Credit. His Solos Are Melodies & They're Perfectly in Place". Ultimate Guitar. 24 December 2018. Archived from the original on 29 September 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
- McNamee, David (11 August 2010). "Hey, what's that sound: Homemade guitars". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 March 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- on YouTube The Music Biz (1992). Retrieved 19 August 2011
- "Songwriters Hall of Fame – Brian May Biography". Songwritershalloffame.org. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- May, Brian (2004). "the may-keeters homepage". brianmayworld.com. Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
- "The 'Spade' guitar". Guyton Guitars. Archived from the original on 7 April 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- Mick St. Michael (1992). Queen in Their Own Words. p.62. Omnibus Press, 1992
- Laura Jackson (2011). "Brian May: The Definitive Biography" Archived 14 March 2020 at the Wayback Machine Hachette UK, 2011
- Cunningham, Mark (October 1995). "The Making Of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'" Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Sound on Sound. Retrieved 23 May 2012
- on YouTube, Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Two's Company: The Duets". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Prato, Greg (18 July 2012). "Brian May at Allmusic". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- "The Life of Brian in Guitar World". Intellectualonly-mercury.ru. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
- "Whole lotta riffs". Guitarist. Issue 247. March 2004.
- "Brian May: 'I owe my sound to guitar hero Rory Gallagher'". Hollywood.com. 30 September 2015. Archived from the original on 4 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
- Frost, Matt (29 April 2015). "Steve Hackett talks Wolflight, phrasing and the nylon knack". musicradar.com. Archived from the original on 30 May 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
- "Interview with Steve Hackett". dmme.net. January 2001. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- McClelland, Ray (10 August 2018). "The guitarguitar Interview: Steve Hackett". guitarguitar. Archived from the original on 4 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
- "Guitar Builder (Luthier) in East Anglia, UK – High Quality Hand Made Custom Electric Guitars by Andrew Guyton". Guytonguitars.com. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "In Pictures: Brian May's Guitars". musicradar.com. Archived from the original on 30 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Simon Bradley. "Brian May's Guyton Double Neck". Musicradar.com. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Prato, Greg (February 2017). "Steve Rothery". Vintage Guitar. Archived from the original on 19 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- Rick Wakeman's Face To Face interview programme, available at rockondigital.com
- "Pro's Reply: Brian May". Guitar Player. August 1975. p. 154. (repr. January 2014)
- "Vox AC30 Brian May". Brianmaycentral.net. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "The Legendary Deacy Amp". queenwillrockyou.weebly.com. Archived from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
- "Queen Save Me (Live)". youtube.com. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- "Flash Theme Sheet Music Queen". sheetmusic-free.com. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Blake, Mark (12 September 2016). Freddie Mercury: A Kind of Magic. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9781783237784. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Popoff, Martin (27 November 2018). Queen: Album by Album. Voyageur Press. p. 173. ISBN 9780760362839. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- "Brian May Yamaha-DX7". equipboard.com. Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- "A Day At The Races". ultimatequeen.co.uk. Archived from the original on 15 November 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Long, Siobhán Dowling; Sawyer, John F.A. (3 September 2015). The Bible in Music: A Dictionary of Songs, Works, and More. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 189. ISBN 9780810884526. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Hicks, Tom R.; May, Brian H.; Reay, N. Ken (1972). "MgI Emission in the Night Sky Spectrum". Nature. 240 (5381): 401–402. Bibcode:1972Natur.240..401H. doi:10.1038/240401a0. ISSN 0028-0836. S2CID 4193025.
- Hicks, T. R.; May, B. H.; Reay, N. K.; Ring, J. (1974). "An Investigation of the Motion of Zodiacal Dust Particles--I: Radial Velocity Measurements on Fraunhofer Line Profiles". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 166 (2): 439–448. Bibcode:1974MNRAS.166..439H. doi:10.1093/mnras/166.2.439. ISSN 0035-8711.
- Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Series 21. Episode 10. 25 minutes in. BBC.
- "BRIAN MAY – Official Biography". Brianmay.com. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- May, Brian. "News". Archived from the original on 20 July 2012.
- "Queen star celebrates doctorate". BBC News. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2007.
- Kluger, Jeffrey (2 January 2019). "Queen Guitarist (And Astrophysicist) Brian May On His Work With NASA". Time. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
- "Imperial College Graduation". Imperial College London. 23 May 2018. Archived from the original on 24 May 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- May, Brian; Moore, Patrick; Lintott, Chris (2006). Bang! The Complete History of the Universe. Carlton. ISBN 1-84442-552-5.
- "Queen star hands in science PhD". BBC News. 9 March 2007. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- May, Brian; Moore, Patrick; Lintott, Chris (2012). The Cosmic Tourist. Carlton. ISBN 978-1-84732-619-5.
- Anthony, Andrew (13 March 2011). "Wonders of the Universe; The Sky at Night". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 18 December 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- "New Chancellor confirmed". Ljmu.ac.uk. Liverpool John Moores University. 23 November 2007. Archived from the original on 6 September 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- "May installed as uni chancellor". BBC News. 14 April 2008. Archived from the original on 15 April 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2008.
- NASA. "JPL Small-Body Database Browser". Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- Dr. Stuart Clark. "Brian May: Asteroid Day can help protect the planet". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- "Starmus 3 full schedule announced". CS.Astronomy.com. Archived from the original on 20 July 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
- NASA (17 July 2015). "NASA News Conference on the New Horizons Mission". YouTube.com. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- Talbert, Tricia (21 July 2015). "Rock Star/Astrophysicist Dr. Brian May Backstage With New Horizons". Nasa.gov. Archived from the original on 6 February 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- Kaplan, Sarah. "NASA's New Horizons spacecraft just visited the farthest object ever explored". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 1 January 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
- "Queen's Brian May receives RCGS medal in Toronto". RCGS. 26 July 2019. Archived from the original on 1 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- "Collisional formation of top-shaped asteroids and implications for the origins of Ryugu and Bennu". Nature Communications. Nature Communications. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
- Anita Dobson. BBC
- May, Brian. "News December 2005". Archived from the original on 4 May 2006. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
- "The Legendary Rock Star at home in Surrey, 19 June 1998". Brianmay.com. 19 June 1998. Archived from the original on 29 August 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- "Ed Sheeran tops Adele as Stormzy joins Sunday Times Rich List". BBC News. BBC. 9 May 2019. Archived from the original on 11 June 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
- Cooke, Rachel (5 September 2010). "Brian May: The Interview". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
- May, Brian (6 February 2006). "Smoking: We Do Not Have to Wait!!". Brian's Soapbox 6 Feb. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2008.
- "Queen wants Moscow sports complex to become non-smoking area". Queen News June 2008. Regnum News Agency. 19 June 2008. Archived from the original on 27 July 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2008.
- "Brian May named vice-president of RSPCA". Farmers Weekly. 13 September 2012. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Brian May blames meat-eating for rise of coronavirus". The Guardian. 15 April 2020.
- RT. "Brian May to RT: I still feel Freddie's around". YouTube. Archived from the original on 24 July 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Neal, Charlotte (13 August 2015). "Brian May: 'Case for development is weak and motivated by money'". GetSurrey. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
- "Queen's Brian May plants first tree in Dorset woodland". Bournemouth Echo. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
- "Brian May unveils woodland vision". BBC News. 12 February 2013. Archived from the original on 23 October 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
- Linda Lamon (18 September 2014), Brian May's Wood First Anniversary, Bere Regis, Dorset, retrieved 8 January 2018
- Linda Lamon (28 September 2016), May's Wood third anniversary of inaugural tree planting., retrieved 8 January 2018
- Lencioni, F.A.A. (9 July 2013). "Diagnoses and discussion of the group 1 and 2 Brazilian species of Heteragrion, with descriptions of four new species (Odonata: Megapodagrionidae). Zootaxa 3685 (1): 001–080" (PDF). Zootaxa. Magnolia Press – Auckland, New Zealand. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "Brian May To Stay Plant-Based After 'Loving' Veganuary". plantbasednews.org. 2 February 2020. Archived from the original on 4 February 2020. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
- "Brian May backs widespread veganism after coronavirus crisis: "Eating animals has brought us to our knees"". NME. 15 April 2020. Archived from the original on 15 April 2020.
- Snapes, Laura (25 May 2020). "Brian May was 'near death' after suffering heart attack while gardening". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
- "Brian May on saving the fox". BBC News. 9 June 2010. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- HARDtalk on YouTube, BBC, 22 September 2010.
- "Bow Group urges the Government to Scrap Badger Cull plans". Bow Publishing. 25 March 2012. Archived from the original on 28 April 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- Barkham, Patrick (26 March 2012). "Badger Cull divides Tories". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 27 August 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- "Now even Tories are calling for the badger cull to be scrapped". Western Morning News. 3 April 2012. Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- "Brian News – April 2013". Brianmay.com. Archived from the original on 30 March 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "About TeamBadger". Teambadger.org.uk. Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "Brian May's 'Save the Badger Badger Badger' song climbs iTunes chart". Digital Spy. 30 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2 September 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- "Badger protest song by Brian May reaches charts". The Guardian. 30 August 2013. Archived from the original on 1 September 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- "Slash and David Attenborough join Brian May in pro-badger supergroup". The Guardian. 4 June 2013. Archived from the original on 27 August 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Selby, Jenn (4 February 2015). "Brian May 'could stand an Independent MP': Queen guitarist's spokesperson drops tenuous hints about political intentions". The Independent. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
- Elgot, Jessica (24 April 2015). "Celebrities sign statement of support for Caroline Lucas – but not the Greens". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 3 October 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
- "Queen legend Brian May urges Crawley residents to vote Conservative at General Election". Crawley News. 27 March 2015. Archived from the original on 23 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
- Dathan, Matt (10 July 2015). "'A bunch of lying b*****ds' – Brian May and Paul McCartney hit out at David Cameron's 'cruel and unnecessary' bid to bring back fox hunting". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
- Beamen, Emily (14 July 2015). "Brian May hails 'important day for democracy' after vote on foxhunting ban is postponed". The Independent. Archived from the original on 17 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
- Oppenheim, Maya (8 June 2017). "Election 2017: The surprising and not-so surprising ways celebrities will be casting their ballots today". The Independent. Archived from the original on 24 June 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
- Read, Jonathon (30 October 2018). "Brian May: 'Brexit is the stupidest thing we ever tried to do'". The New European. Archived from the original on 18 December 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
- May, Brian (22 November 2019). "Bri's Soapbox". brianmay.com. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
- May, Brian (26 December 2019). "Bri's Soapbox". brianmay.com. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
- "Queen's Brian May on Boris Johnson winning General Election 'give him benefit of doubt'". 14 December 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
- O'Connor, Roisin (7 August 2021). "Brian May attacks Boris Johnson over handling of Covid pandemic: 'At every point, he did too little, too late'". The Independent. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
- Kennedy, Randy (25 July 2010). "A Village Preserved, Green and All: Brian May's Photographic Recovery". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 January 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- "Royal Photographic Society's Saxby Award Accessed 29 October 2012". Rps.org. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Brian May's Visions Of Hell". MOJO. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Retrieved 8 March 2014". Londonstereo.com. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Middleton, Christopher (25 October 2013). "Brian May: there's life in the old devil yet". Telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- May, Brian (2017). Queen in 3-D. London Stereoscopic Company. [London, England]. ISBN 978-0-9574246-8-5. OCLC 1002896816.
- Kreps, Daniel (12 July 2017). "Brian May Unveils Queen History in Expansive 3-D Photo Book". Rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
- "NASA New Horizons, Ultima Thule: press briefing on the results from the flyby". Rollingstone.com. CBS News. 3 January 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
- Queen Pic 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Finds Bandmates In Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee & Joe Mazzello Archived 15 January 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- "Brian May says Rami Malek deserves Oscar nomination for turn as Freddie Mercury". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2018.