May performing in 1979
|Birth name||Brian Harold May|
|Born||19 July 1947|
Hampton, Middlesex, England
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. Together with Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott, he wrote a book called Bang! The Complete History of the Universe.
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]
- "May installed as uni chancellor". BBC. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Bang! The Complete History of the Universe". 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-04. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".