Brian May

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Brian May
CBE ARCS, PhD
May performing in 1979
May performing in 1979
Background information
Birth nameBrian Harold May
Born (1947-07-19) 19 July 1947 (age 74)
Hampton, London, England
GenresRock
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • author
  • astrophysicist
Instruments
  • Guitar
Years active1964–present
Labels
Associated acts
EducationHampton Grammar School
Alma materImperial College London (BSc (Hons), PhD)
Spouse(s)
Christine Mullen
(m. 1974; div. 1988)

Anita Dobson
(m. 2000)
Children3
AwardsInductee, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2001)
CBE (2005)
Scientific career
FieldsAstrophysics
ThesisA survey of radial velocities in the zodiacal dust cloud (2008)
Doctoral advisor
Influences
Websitebrianmay.com

Brian Harold May, CBE (born 19 July 1947) is an English musician, songwriter and astrophysicist, best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen. He uses a guitar he built himself with the help of his father. The guitar they built is called the "Red Special".

Apart from music, May earned his PhD in astrophysics in 2007 and is currently the Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University.[3] Together with Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott, he wrote a book called Bang! The Complete History of the Universe.[4]

May was ranked 39th in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."[5] Biography

Early life[change | change source]

Brian Harold May, the only child of Harold and Ruth May, was born in Hampton, Middlesex and attended Hampton Grammar School (now Hampton School). During this time he formed his first band with vocalist and bassist Tim Staffell named Nineteen Eighty-Four after George Orwell's novel of the same name. He graduated from Hampton Grammar School with ten GCE Ordinary Levels and four Advanced Levels in Physics, Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Additional Mathematics.

May's father Harold worked as a draughtsman at the Ministry of Aviation and had been a long-time cigarette-smoker. As a result, May dislikes smoking, even to the point where he has prohibited smoking indoors at his more recent concerts.

Marriage and children[change | change source]

From 1974 to 1988, May was married to Chrissie Mullen, who is the mother of his three children: Jimmy, who was born on 15 June 1978; Louisa, who was born on 22 May 1981 and Emily Ruth, who was born on 17 February 1987. Chrissie and Brian separated in 1988.

Personal life and other musical collaborations[change | change source]

He has stated in interviews that he suffered from depression in the late 1980s, even to the point of contemplating suicide, for reasons having to do with his troubled first marriage and his perceived failure as a husband and a dad, his father Harold's death, and Freddie Mercury's illness. May is married to former Eastenders actress Anita Dobson, whom he met in 1986, and who gained fame in the 1980s for providing vocals to the theme tune to the aforementioned soap, entitled "Anyone Can Fall in Love". May himself produced the song, which reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart in August 1986.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 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 open access publication – free to read
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Brian May at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. "May installed as uni chancellor". BBC. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  4. "Bang! The Complete History of the Universe". 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
  5. "Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Archived from the original on 2009-05-25. Retrieved 2017-08-30.