51 Facts About Brian May


Sir Brian Harold May was born on 19 July 1947 and is a British musician, singer, songwriter and astrophysicist.


In 2005, a Planet Rock poll saw Brian May voted the seventh-greatest guitarist of all time.


In 2001, Brian 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.


Brian May was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2005 for services to the music industry and for charity work.


Brian 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.


Brian May was knighted by King Charles III in the 2023 New Year Honours for services to music and charity.


Brian Harold May was born 19 July 1947 in a nursing home at Hampton Hill, near Twickenham, Middlesex, the only child of Ruth Irving and Harold May, who worked as a draughtsman at the Ministry of Aviation.

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Brian May studied Mathematics and Physics at Imperial College London, graduating with a BSc degree in Physics in 1968 with honours.


In 2007, Brian May was awarded a PhD degree in astrophysics from Imperial College London for work started in 1971 and completed in 2007.


In 1986, Brian 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 Brian May co-wrote.


In 1988, Brian 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.


In late 1992, the Brian May Band was officially formed.


In 1995, Brian 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.


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


Brian May played guitar on the song "Someone to Die For" on the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack in 2004.


Brian May was a celebrity guest at the Genesis reunion concert at Twickenham Stadium in 2007.


In 2003, Brian May announced a search to identify the actual location of the Scenes in Our Village images.


In 2004 Brian May reported that he had identified the location as the village of Hinton Waldrist in Oxfordshire.


In November 2009, Brian May appeared with Taylor on The X Factor, with Queen mentoring the contestants, then later performed "Bohemian Rhapsody".


Brian 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.


Brian May performed with Tangerine Dream at the Starmus Festival on Tenerife in June 2011, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first spaceflight.


In January 2012, Brian May featured on N-Dubz frontman Dappy's solo single "Rockstar", providing "rumbling guitar riffs which culminate in an electrifying solo".


In 2015, Brian May played guitar on the end credits song "One Voice" from the film A Dog Named Gucci.


Brian May 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.


Brian May 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".

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From 1975 onwards, Brian May had some replicas made of the Red Special, some of which were used for live and recording purposes, others being mainly spares.


Brian May switched in 2000 to the Fryer's booster, which actually gives less boost than the TB-83.


Brian May co-composed a mini-opera with Lee Holdridge, Il Colosso, for Steve Barron's 1996 film, The Adventures of Pinocchio.


In October 2006, Brian May re-registered for his doctorate at Imperial College, and he submitted his thesis in August 2007.


Brian May 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.


Brian May graduated at the awards ceremony of Imperial College held in the Royal Albert Hall on 14 May 2008.


In October 2007, Brian May was appointed a Visiting Researcher in Imperial College and he continues his interest in astronomy and involvement with the Imperial Astrophysics Group.


On 17 November 2007, Brian May was appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, and he was installed in 2008 having been awarded an honorary fellowship from the university for his contribution to astronomy and services to the public understanding of science.


In 2014, Brian May co-founded Asteroid Day with Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, B612 Foundation COO Danica Remy and German filmmaker Grigorij Richters.


Brian May was a guest at the 2016 Starmus Festival where he performed on stage with composer Hans Zimmer.


In 2022, Brian May was awarded a Doctorate of Science honoris causa by Professor Brad Gibson in the EA Milne Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Hull.


At the Starmus IV festival in Yerevan, Armenia in September 2022, Brian May was awarded the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication.


In December 2022 Brian May was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2023 New Year Honours, the first list of King Charles III's reign.


In March 2023, Brian May was officially knighted by the King.


From 1976 to 1988, Brian May was married to Christine Mullen.


Brian May inspired him to write the 1989 hit "I Want It All".


Brian May is an active animal rights advocate, and he was appointed a vice-president of an animal welfare charity, the RSPCA, in September 2012.


In December 2021, Brian May revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19.


In March 2012, Brian 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.


In 2013, Brian May joined French guitar player Jean-Pierre Danel for a charity Danel launched for the benefit of animal rights in France.

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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".


In July 2015, Brian 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.


In June 2017, Brian May endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 general election.


In 2021 Brian May criticised Johnson for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, calling it inadequate.


Brian May was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Saxby Medal in 2012 for achievement in the field of three-dimensional imaging.


In 2017, Brian May published Queen in 3-D, chronicling the group's 50-year history.