Brian May (born 19 July 1947) became famous as the guitarist of rock group Queen and composed many of Queen's hits: We Will Rock You, Hammer to Fall and Who Wants to Live Forever. He remained an active musician in the 1990s, after Queen had ceased to exist as the result of Freddie Mercury's death. He was born in Hampton, United Kingdom.
He has played a range of guitars, most often the Red Special, which he designed with his father and built from an old fireplace! His commments on this instrument, from Queen In Their Own Words (ed. Mick St. Michael, Omnibus Press, 1992, p62) are:
- "I like a big neck - thick, flat and wide. I lacquered the fingerboard with Rustin's Plastic Coating. The tremelo is interesting in that the arm's made from an old bicycle saddle bag carrier, the knob at the end's off a knitting needle and the springs are valve springs from an old motorbike."
He had been part way through a PhD course when Queen took off, and never completed his astronomy doctorate. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science in November 2002 by Hertfordshire University.