Path: Queen - Royal Legend - Biography: Brian May

Biography: Brian May

Full Name: Brian Harold May
Born: 19 July 1947
Place: Hampton, Middlesex
School: Hampton Grammar
College: Imperial College, London
Degree: Physics, Honorary D.Sc., University of Hertfordshire, 19 November 2002
Pre-Queen Bands: 1984, Smile

He was born as Brian Harold May on 19th of July 1947 in Hampton Middlesex. When he was 5 he started to attend primary school in Feltham. He liked music and liked to sing, so his parents registered him for piano lessons. But Brian hated them – he had to practice on weekends, when he wanted to go outside. He was keen collector of comics, covers and boxes. When hewas six he started to learn to play the ukulele. Brian was really good and quickly get into it and soon he wanted his first guitar. A Spain guitar was given to him as a birthday present, but it was quite big for him, so he started to modify it. Mainly the neck, he also built off-hand pick-up and so he made the acoustic guitar. His other points of interest were astronomy and photography. Brian was listening a lot of records accompanying them on guitar in his free time. He moved from playing chords to single tones – he was interested in guitar to the smallest detail. Back to his piano lessons – he passed the theoretical and practical exams of playing piano, but dropped following study. He started to write his own melodies and began to perform at the family parties.

In spirit of family tradition he started to attend Hampton's grammar school. As the time flew he discovered, that his guitar wasn't good enough to play music he liked. He was without money and guitars were too expensive then. Brian and his father decided they'd try to build a guitar exactly in his idea. His famous Red Special (or fireplace guitar) cost 18 month of hard work and about 18 pounds. He was very proud of it and he had to resist against offers of his friends and schoolmates to buy the guitar. It was time to find what kind of pick would be the best for the sound he exactly wanted to hear. Brian found the only one pick, which could do that – an ordinary sixpence.

When he reached 17, he tried many jobs, but also founded a group with his friend Dave Dilloway, where another guy Tim Staffell played the harmonica. They named it 1984 (by the Sci-fi book). They performed in public places, halls and schools. Brian was a member of school theatre club and of a school choir. When he finished grammar school, his next steps led to the Imperial College in London where he'd like to study astrology. He still played in 1984. One of the memorable appearances was on 13th of May 1967, when they supported Jimmi Hendrix. Brian spent a lot of time with study and the band itself decided the sort of spark is missing, which meant end of 1984. Brian was still in touch with Tim Staffell. They liked collective playing, which wasn't there anymore. They posted up the leaflet with a "need a drummer" line. They organised competition – among the candidates was also Roger Meddows Taylor...