Brian May – The Curly-Haired Rock God with a PhD

Today, we’re going deep into the life of the legendary Brian May, a man who’s much more than just his magical Red Special guitar and those Queen anthems that you can’t get out of your head. Let’s dive into the life of the man, the myth, the legend: Mr. Brian May!

Table of Contents

The Early Days: Boy Wonder with a Guitar

Born in Hampton, London, on July 19, 1947, Brian showed early signs of genius. By the time he hit his teens, he was already making waves with his guitar playing. But did you know he and his dad built his iconic Red Special guitar from scratch? Yep, from old wood, motorbike springs, and some mother-of-pearl buttons, they created the guitar that would go on to shape the sound of Queen.

Joining Forces: The Birth of Queen

After a couple of tries with other bands, destiny came knocking when Brian teamed up with Roger Taylor, John Deacon, and the flamboyant, iconic Freddie Mercury. Thus, Queen was born. Their sound was unique—a mix of rock, opera, and a dash of everything in between. Brian’s distinct guitar playing—those layered harmonies and intricate solos—became a hallmark of the band’s sound.

Not Just a Guitarist: Brian the Songwriter

While Freddie often takes the spotlight for his songwriting (and his outrageous onstage antics!), Brian penned some of Queen’s biggest hits. Ever belted out “We Will Rock You” at a sports game? Thank Brian. Been moved by the touching “Save Me” or rocked out to “Fat Bottomed Girls”? Yep, that’s Brian’s handiwork. His songs often combined deep emotion with a rocking good time.

Dr. May: The Rock Star with a PhD

Now, here’s where things get really interesting. Beyond his musical prowess, Brian’s got brains – big time. He’s massively into astrophysics. In the late 2000s, while most rockstars of his era were chilling out, Brian was submitting his doctoral thesis on “A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud”. Talk about multi-talented!

Beyond Queen: The Collaborations and Solo Adventures

After the tragic death of Freddie Mercury, Queen’s future seemed uncertain. During these challenging times, Brian ventured into solo territory. His albums “Back to the Light” and “Another World” showcased a more personal side. He also teamed up with various artists, exploring different musical landscapes but always bringing that signature Brian May sound.

Advocate and Activist: Using Fame for Good

Outside of his musical endeavors, Brian’s a passionate advocate for animal rights. He’s frequently used his platform to campaign against badger culling and fox hunting in the UK. Plus, he’s a staunch supporter of saving wildlife habitats. Rock star and a heart of gold? Classic Brian!

Red Special: More than Just a Guitar

Alright, let’s chat a bit more about that iconic guitar we briefly touched on. The Red Special, sometimes lovingly called the “Fireplace” (because, fun fact, it was partially made from an old fireplace!), isn’t just a tool; it’s an extension of Brian himself. With its semi-burnt look and unique sound, it’s played a massive role in making Queen’s music instantly recognizable. Together with his sixpence coin (yep, he uses a coin instead of a traditional pick), Brian coaxes sounds from the Red Special that leave most guitarists in awe.

The Stereoscopic Enthusiast: Seeing the World Differently

If you thought space was Brian’s only ‘geeky’ passion, think again. Brian’s been an enthusiast of stereoscopy, a photography technique that has created the illusion of depth since he was a kid. He’s even authored books on the subject, showcasing Victorian stereoscopic photographs. Not to mention, he created the OWL Stereoscopic Viewer, a device to view these 3D images. Now, how many rockstars do you know who’s done that?

Returning to Queen

While many believed Queen’s reign ended with Freddie’s passing, the band found a new lease on life with Adam Lambert. “Queen + Adam Lambert” tours became a global sensation, proving that Queen’s music is timeless. And at the heart of this resurgence? Brian’s epic guitar solos and passion for keeping the Queen legacy alive.

The Personal Side: Family and Relationships

Away from the limelight, Brian’s a family man. Married to actress Anita Dobson (you might know her from the TV series “EastEnders”), he’s often spoken about the grounding influence of his family. He’s a dad to three kids, and if you stalk his Instagram just a little, you’ll find heartwarming moments with his clan and, of course, lots of stereoscopic images and space stuff.

Overcoming Challenges: Health and Resilience

Life hasn’t always been a smooth ride for our rock legend. From dealing with the loss of Freddie to facing his own health challenges, Brian’s resilience is commendable. He’s been open about his struggles, hoping to inspire others to keep pushing through tough times.

The Everlasting Impact of Brian May

From cosmic pursuits to iconic riffs, Brian May is a testament to the fact that humans aren’t one-dimensional. He shatters the stereotype of the “classic rockstar” and shows us that it’s cool to be passionate about, well, anything and everything!

So, next time “Bohemian Rhapsody” graces your eardrums, or you find yourself gazing up at the stars, spare a thought for Brian May – the rock god with a PhD, a heart of gold, and hair that probably has its own fan club. Rock on and keep reaching for the stars, just like Dr. May!