Brian MayBrian May
b. July 19, 1947
London, England

Brian May’s band, Queen, a quartet that combined elements of hard rock, metal, opera, and art rock, and combined many other styles along the way, was formed in England in 1971. Queen was May, along with vocalist extraordinaire Freddie Mercury, drummer Roger Taylor, and bassist John Deacon.

When Brian was six years old he started playing the ukulele. He started guitar lessons soon after, and was given a Spanish guitar which was much too big for him. He and his father modified it, but May soon discovered that this guitar wasn’t the one he wanted to make music with. Brian and his father decided to build a guitar to fit Brian’s needs exactly. This was to become Brian May's famous "Red Special" (or fireplace guitar). The guitar took about eighteen months to build. When May was seventeen, he founded a group with friends called “1984” after the sci-fi book.

Queen released their first album, self-titled, in 1973, and it eventually went gold in 1977 in the U.S. Their second album, Queen II, was the first of Queen’s success in the U.K. as they had a Top 10 hit with “The Seven Seas of Rhys”, but it was 1975’s A Night at the Opera that was their biggest early release. “Opera” topped the U.K. chart and made it to the Top 5 in the U.S. It included the gold-selling single, “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Brian also wrote some of Queen’s great numbers, from rockers such as “Tie Your Mother Down” and “We Will Rock You” to ballads like “Who Wants to Live Forever”.

Altogether, with movie soundtracks, greatest hits albums and live discs, Queen released seventeen albums. Queen toured in 2005 with Paul Rodgers, formerly of Free and Bad Company, doing the vocals.

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