|Height:||187 cm (6' 2'')|
|Birth Day:||July 19, 1947|
|Birth Place:||London, England|
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He studied mathematics and physics at Imperial College London and earned a PhD.
At Hampton Grammar School, he attained ten GCE Ordinary Levels and three GCE Advanced Levels in Physics, Mathematics, and Applied Mathematics. He studied Mathematics and Physics at Imperial College London, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 1968 with honours. Following his graduation, May received a personal invitation from Sir Bernard Lovell to work at the Jodrell Bank Observatory while continuing to prepare his doctorate. He declined, choosing instead to remain at Imperial College to avoid breaking from Smile, the London-based band he was in at the time.
May formed the band Smile in 1968. The group included Tim Staffell as the lead singer and bassist, and later, drummer Roger Taylor, who also went on to play for Queen. The band lasted for only two years, from 1968 to 1970, as Staffell departed in 1970, leaving the band with a catalogue of nine songs. Smile would reunite for several songs on 22 December 1992. Taylor's band The Cross were headliners, and he brought May and Staffell on to play "Earth" and "If I Were a Carpenter". May also performed several other songs that night.
The purchase of his first card in 1973 started May on a lifelong and worldwide search for Les Diableries, which are stereoscopic photographs depicting scenes of daily life in Hell. On 10 October 2013 the book Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell by Brian May, Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming was published.
May studied physics and mathematics at Imperial College London, graduating with a BSc (Hons) degree and ARCS in physics with Upper Second-Class Honours. From 1970 to 1974, he studied for a PhD degree at Imperial College, studying reflected light from interplanetary dust and the velocity of dust in the plane of the Solar System. When Queen began to have international success in 1974, he abandoned his doctoral studies, but nonetheless co-authored two peer reviewed research papers, which were based on his observations at the Teide Observatory in Tenerife.
From 1974 to 1988, May was married to Christine Mullen. They had three children: James (born 15 June 1978), Louisa (born 22 May 1981), and Emily Ruth (born 18 February 1987). They separated in 1988. May had met actress Anita Dobson in 1986. She inspired him to write the 1989 hit "I Want It All". They married on 18 November 2000.
From 1975 onwards, May had some replicas made of the Red Special, some of which were also used for live and recording purposes, others being mainly spares. The most famous replicas were made by John Birch in 1975 (May actually smashed it during a concert in the States in 1982), Greco BM90 (featured in the promo video of "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy" in 1977), Guild (back-up from 1984 to 1993), Fryers (1997–1998, used both live and in the studio) and Guyton (back-up from 2003 to present). On stage, May used to carry at least one back-up guitar (in case he broke a string) and occasionally would use others for certain songs or parts, such as alternate tunings. Currently, May owns a company which makes guitars whose design is modelled after the original Red Special guitar.
During 1983, several members of Queen explored side projects. On 21 and 22 April in Los Angeles, May was in a studio with Eddie Van Halen, with no intention of recording anything. The result of the two-day session was a mini album titled Star Fleet Project, which was not originally going to be released. In 1986, May contributed to former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett's album Feedback 86, playing guitar on the track "Cassandra" and providing guitar and vocals for "Slot Machine", which May co-wrote. Although produced in 1986, the album was not released commercially until 2000. In the same year, May worked with actress Anita Dobson on her first album, most noted for the song "Anyone Can Fall in Love", which added lyrics to the EastEnders theme tune and reached number four on the UK Singles Chart in August 1986. May and Dobson married in 2000. In 1988, May contributed guitar solos to the song "When Death Calls" on Black Sabbath's 14th album Headless Cross, and the Living in a Box track "Blow The House Down" on the album Gatecrashing. Both albums were released in 1989.
In 1984, Guild released the first official Red Special replica for mass production, and made some prototypes specifically for May. However, the solid body construction (the original RS has hollow cavities in the body) and the pick-ups (DiMarzio) that were not an exact replica of the Burns TriSonic did not make May happy, so the production stopped after just 300 guitars. In 1993, Guild made a second replica of the RS, made in just 1000 copies, of which May has some and used as a back-up. At the moment, he uses the two guitars made by Greg Fryer—the luthier who restored the Old Lady in 1998—as back-up. They are almost identical to the original, except for the Fryer logo on the headstock (May's original one has a sixpence).
After the Live Aid concert in 1985, Mercury rang his band members and proposed writing a song together. The result was "One Vision", which was basically May on music (the Magic Years documentary shows how he came up with the opening section and the basic guitar riff); the lyrics were co-written by the four band members.
For their 1989 release album, The Miracle, the band had decided that all of the tracks would be credited to the entire band, no matter who had been the main writer. Interviews and musical analyses tend to help identify the input of each member on each track. May composed "I Want It All" for that album, as well as "Scandal" (based on his personal problems with the British press). For the rest of the album he did not contribute much creatively, although he helped in building the basis of "Party" and "Was It All Worth It" (both being predominantly Mercury's pieces) and created the "Chinese Torture" guitar riff.
May always stated that the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Who and Jimi Hendrix were the greatest influences on him. On the Queen for an Hour interview on BBC Radio 1 in 1989, May listed Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton as his guitar heroes. In a 1991 interview for Guitar World magazine, May referred to the Who as "my inspiration", and on seeing Led Zeppelin stated, "We used to look at those guys and think, 'That's the way it should be done.'" May told Guitarist in 2004: "I don't think anyone has epitomised riff writing better than Jimmy Page – he's one of the great brains of rock music".
In late 1992, the Brian May Band was officially formed. An earlier version of the band had been loosely formed for 19 October 1991, when May took part in the Guitar Legends guitar festival in Seville, Spain. The line-up for his performance was May on vocals and lead guitar, Cozy Powell on drums and percussion, Mike Moran and Rick Wakeman on keyboards, and Maggie Ryder, Miriam Stockley and Chris Thompson on backing vocals. The original line-up was May on vocals and lead guitar, Powell on drums and percussion, Michael Casswell on guitar, Neil Murray on bass, and Ryder, Stockley and Thompson on backing vocals. This version of the band was together only during the South American support tour (supporting The B-52's and Joe Cocker) on five dates.
Afterwards, May made significant changes, feeling the group never quite gelled. May brought guitarist Jamie Moses on board to replace Mike Caswell. The backing vocalists, Ryder, Stockley and Thompson, were replaced by Catherine Porter and Shelley Preston. On 23 February 1993, this new line-up of The Brian May Band began its world tour in the US, both supporting Guns N' Roses and headlining a few dates. The tour included dates in North America, Europe (support act: Valentine) and Japan. On June 15 1993 the band did a show in London that would end up as The Brian May Band's only release as a collective, namely Live at the Brixton Academy. At the show May would sing a few lines of "Love of My Life", and then, like Mercury used to, let the audience join in. After the tour ended on 18 December 1993, May returned to the studio with fellow surviving Queen band members Roger Taylor and John Deacon to work on tracks that became Made in Heaven, the final Queen studio album. The band took Mercury's solo album demos and last recordings, which he managed to perform in the studio after the album Innuendo was finished, and completed them with their additions both musically and vocally. After Mercury's death, work on the album by Deacon and May began originally in 1992 but was left until a later date due to other commitments.
In 1995, May began working on a new solo album of covers tentatively titled Heroes, in addition to working on various film and television projects and other collaborations. May subsequently changed the approach from covers to focus on those collaborations and on new material. The songs included Another World, and featured mainly Spike Edney, Cozy Powell, Neil Murray and Jamie Moses. On 5 April 1998, Cozy Powell was killed in a car accident on the M4 motorway near Bristol, England. This caused huge unexpected disruption to the upcoming tour for The Brian May Band which now needed a new drummer on short notice. Steve Ferrone was brought on to help May finish recording the drum tracks and to join the band for the early stage promotional tour of five dates in Europe before the world tour. Following the early promotional tour, Eric Singer replaced him on the full 1998 world tour.
In the aftermath of the November 1991 death of Mercury, May chose to deal with his grief by committing himself as fully as possible to work, first by finishing his solo album, Back to the Light, and then touring worldwide to promote it. He frequently remarked in press interviews that this was the only form of self-prescribed therapy he could think of. According to Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott, "It was undoubtedly an enormous and terrible blow to lose someone he was so close to. Personally, I know it ripped the heart out of Brian, but having said that, he was in great spirits after the album was finished." Back to the Light featured the single "Too Much Love Will Kill You", on which he collaborated as a songwriter with Frank Musker and Elizabeth Lamers. A version with Freddie Mercury's vocals was later released on the Queen album Made in Heaven and won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically & Lyrically in 1996.
The 1998 tour saw the brief introduction of a 'support act' known as T. E. Conway. Conway (Brian May in a wig and colourful suit playing the part of a teddy boy crooner) would play a number of 1950s rock and roll standards prior to May's 'arrival'. A bonus T. E. Conway EP entitled Retro Rock Special was attached to some pressings of the Another World album. The Conway character was retired at the end of the tour. In May 1999, May recorded lead guitars for the Guns N' Roses song "Catcher in the Rye" on Chinese Democracy, however, his performance was removed from the album by the time it was released in 2008.
From his last solo release in 1998, May has been performing as a solo artist, as part of an ensemble, and infrequently as Queen with Roger Taylor. On 22 October 2000, he made a guest appearance at the Motörhead 25th Anniversary show at Brixton Academy along with Eddie Clarke (former Motörhead guitarist) for the encore song "Overkill". As part of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II celebrations on 3 June 2002, May performed a guitar solo of "God Save the Queen" from the roof of Buckingham Palace, with the performance appearing on the 30th Anniversary DVD edition of A Night at the Opera. May played guitar on the song "Someone to Die For" on the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack in 2004.
May also customises his amps by removing the circuitry for the Brilliant and Vib-trem channels (leaving only the circuitry for the Normal), and this alters the tone slightly, with a gain addition of 6–7 dB. He always used a treble booster which, along with the AC30 and his custom 'Deacy Amp' transistor amp, built by Queen bass player John Deacon, went a long way in helping to create many of his signature guitar tones. He used the Dallas Rangemaster for the first Queen albums, up to A Day at the Races. Effects designer Pete Cornish built for him the TB-83 (32 dB of gain) that was used for all the remaining Queen albums. He switched in 2000 to the Fryer's booster, which actually gives less boost than the TB-83.
Two songs May had composed for his first solo album, "Headlong" and "I Can't Live With You", eventually ended up on the Queen project. His other composition was "The Show Must Go On", a group effort which he coordinated and was the primary composer. In recent years, he has supervised the remastering of Queen albums and various DVD and greatest hits releases. In 2004, he announced that he and drummer Roger Taylor were going on tour for the first time in 18 years as "Queen", along with Free/Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers. Billed as "Queen + Paul Rodgers", the band played throughout 2005 and 2006 in South Africa, Europe, Aruba, Japan, and North America and released a new album with Rodgers in 2008, entitled The Cosmos Rocks. This album was supported by a major tour.
On the Queen's birthday honours list of 2005, he was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire "for services to the music industry and for charity work". In the same year he played the guitar on the song Il mare... for Italian singer Zucchero Fornaciari, on his album Zu & Co., and he took part in the concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London held in May 2004, with the other guests of the Italian bluesman. May was a celebrity guest at the Genesis reunion concert at Twickenham Stadium in 2007. May and Genesis frontman Phil Collins worked together on two previous occasions, at The Prince's Trust Rock Gala in 1988 and the Party at the Palace in 2002, when Collins had played drums with Queen. In 2011 he contributed to a feature about Collins for FHM, praising him as "a great guy and an amazing drummer".
At the end of 2004, May and Taylor announced that they would reunite and return to touring in 2005, with Paul Rodgers (founder and former lead singer of Free and Bad Company. Brian May's website also stated that Rodgers would be "featured with" Queen as Queen + Paul Rodgers, not replacing the late Freddie Mercury. The retired John Deacon would not be participating.
Between 2005 and 2006 Queen and Paul Rodgers embarked on a world tour, the first leg being Europe and the second, Japan and the US in 2006. On 25 May 2006, Queen received the inaugural VH1 Rock Honors at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and May and Taylor were joined on stage with the Foo Fighters to perform a selection of Queen songs. On 15 August 2006, May confirmed through his website and fan club that Queen + Paul Rodgers would begin producing their first studio album in October, to be recorded at a "secret location". The album, titled The Cosmos Rocks, was released in Europe on 12 September 2008 and in the United States on 28 October 2008. Following the album's release, the band embarked on a tour through Europe and parts of the US, opening on Kharkiv's freedom square in front of 350,000 Ukrainian fans. The show in Ukraine was later released on DVD. Queen and Paul Rodgers officially split up on 12 May 2009. Rodgers did not rule out the possibility of working together again.
May's early influences included Cliff Richard and the Shadows, who he says were "the most metallic thing(s) out at the time." Many years later he gained his opportunity to play on separate occasions with both Cliff Richard and Shadows lead guitarist Hank Marvin. He has collaborated with Cliff Richard on a re-recording of the Cliff Richard and the Shadows (then known as the Drifters) 1958 hit "Move It" on the Cliff Richard duets album Two's Company which was released on 6 November 2006.
In October 2006, May re-registered for his PhD at Imperial College and he submitted his thesis in August 2007 (one year earlier than he estimated it would take to complete). As well as writing up the previous work he had done, May had to review the work on zodiacal dust undertaken during the intervening 33 years, which included the discovery of the zodiacal dust bands by NASA's IRAS satellite. After a viva voce, the revised thesis (titled "A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud") was approved in September 2007, some 37 years after it had been commenced. He was able to submit his thesis only because of the minimal amount of research on the topic during the intervening years and has described the subject as one that became in-demand again in the 2000s. His PhD investigated radial velocity using absorption spectroscopy and doppler spectroscopy of zodiacal light using a Fabry–Pérot interferometer based at the Teide Observatory in Tenerife. His research was initially supervised by Jim Ring, Ken Reay and in the latter stages by Michael Rowan-Robinson. He graduated at the awards ceremony of Imperial College held in the Royal Albert Hall on 14 May 2008.
In 2007, May was awarded a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London for work started in 1971 and completed in 2007.
In October 2007, May was appointed a Visiting Researcher in Imperial College and he continues his interest in astronomy and involvement with the Imperial Astrophysics Group. He is co-author, with Sir Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott, of Bang! – The Complete History of the Universe and The Cosmic Tourist. May appeared on the 700th episode of The Sky at Night hosted by Sir Patrick Moore, along with Chris Lintott, Jon Culshaw, Professor Brian Cox, and the Astronomer Royal Martin Rees who on departing the panel, told Brian May, who was joining it, "I don't know a scientist who looks as much like Isaac Newton as you do." May was also a guest on the first episode of the third series of the BBC's Stargazing Live, on 8 January 2013.
On 17 November 2007, May was appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, and installed in 2008 having also been awarded an honorary fellowship from the University for his contribution to astronomy and services to the public understanding of science. He held the post until 2013. Asteroid 52665 Brianmay was named after him on 18 June 2008 on the suggestion of Patrick Moore (probably influenced by the asteroid's provisional designation of 1998 BM30).
Paul Rodgers left the band in May 2009. It was not until 2011 that another vocalist, Adam Lambert, was recruited. Queen + Adam Lambert toured Europe in 2012 and toured the world tour over 2014 and 2015. Their most recent outing was the 2016 Festival Tour. They also played the Big Ben New Year concert on New Year's Eve 2014 and New Year's Day 2015.
May worked extensively with stage actress and singer Kerry Ellis after he cast her in the musical We Will Rock You. He produced and arranged her debut studio album Anthems (2010), a follow-up to her extended play Wicked in Rock (2008), as well as appearing with Ellis at many public performances—playing guitar alongside her. He also contributed a guitar solo to Meat Loaf's Hang Cool, Teddy Bear album in exchange for the use of drummer John Miceli. Along with Elena Vidal, May released a historical book in 2009 entitled A Village Lost and Found: Scenes in Our Village. The book is an annotated collection of stereoscopic photographs taken by the Victorian era photographer T. R. Williams. It included a focusing stereoscope. May became an enthusiast of stereoscope photographs as a child, and first encountered the work of Williams during the late 1960s. In 2003, May announced a search to identify the actual location of the Scenes in Our Village images. In 2004 May reported that he had identified the location as the village of Hinton Waldrist in Oxfordshire.
On 20 May 2009, May and Queen bandmate Roger Taylor performed "We Are the Champions" live on the season finale of American Idol with winner Kris Allen and runner-up Adam Lambert providing a vocal duet. In November 2009, May appeared with Taylor on The X Factor, with Queen mentoring the contestants, then later performed "Bohemian Rhapsody". In April 2010, May founded the "Save Me" 2010 project to work against any proposed repeal of the British fox-hunting ban, and to promote animal rights in Britain. In February 2011, it was announced that May would tour with Kerry Ellis, playing 12 dates across the UK in May 2011.
Not long after performing with American Idol finalists Kris Allen and Adam Lambert during the programme's season finale in 2009, May and Taylor began contemplating the future of Queen after the group's amicable split with frontman Paul Rodgers. Two years later, at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards, Queen was presented with that year's Global Icon Award, accepted by May. As part of the broadcast, Queen performed a short set with Lambert, receiving an overwhelmingly welcoming response. Speculation regarding a collaboration with Lambert soon arose, with the three formally announcing a short summer tour of Europe in 2012, including three dates at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, as well as shows in Ukraine, Russia and Poland. As with the partnership with Paul Rodgers, John Deacon did not participate.
May has had a lifelong interest in collecting Victorian stereophotography. In 2009, with co-author Elena Vidal, he published his second book, A Village Lost and Found, on the work of English stereophotography innovator T. R. Williams. He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Saxby Medal in 2012 for achievement in the field of three-dimensional imaging.
May has formed a group to promote animal welfare. Though a Conservative Party voter most of his life, he has stated that their policies on fox hunting and the culling of badgers meant he did not vote for them in the 2010 UK general election. His group, Save Me (named after the May-written Queen song), campaigns for the protection of all animals against unnecessary, cruel and degrading treatment, with a particular emphasis on preventing hunting of foxes and the culling of badgers. The group's primary concern is to ensure that the Hunting Act 2004 and other laws protecting animals are retained in situ.
In an interview in September 2010 with Stephen Sackur for the BBC's HARDtalk program, May said that he would rather be remembered for his animal rights work than for his music or scientific work. May is a staunch supporter of the RSPCA, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the League Against Cruel Sports, PETA UK and the Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue. In March 2012, May contributed the foreword to a target paper published by the think tank the Bow Group, urging the government to reconsider its plans to cull thousands of badgers to control bovine TB, stating that the findings of Labour's major badger culling trials, several years earlier, show that culling does not work. The paper was authored by Graham Godwin-Pearson with contributions by leading tuberculosis scientists, including Lord Krebs.
On 18 April 2011, Lady Gaga confirmed that May would play guitar on her track "You and I" from her latest album Born This Way, released on 23 May 2011. May joined Gaga on stage during the performance of "You and I" at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. May performed with Tangerine Dream at the Starmus Festival on Tenerife in June 2011, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first spaceflight.
May performed "We Will Rock You" and "Welcome to the Black Parade" with the rock band My Chemical Romance at the Reading Festival on 26 August 2011. On 10 October, May made an appearance to celebrate the reunion of rock band The Darkness at an "intimate" 100 Club show with support from Dark Stares. A long-time fan of the group, May performed three songs onstage with The Darkness, including Queen's "Tie Your Mother Down", at the Hammersmith Apollo on their subsequent "comeback" tour.
At the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards on 6 November, Queen received the Global Icon Award, which Katy Perry presented to Brian May. Queen closed the awards ceremony, with Adam Lambert on vocals, performing "The Show Must Go On", "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions". The collaboration garnered a positive response from both fans and critics, resulting in speculation about future projects together. Queen + Adam Lambert played two shows at the Hammersmith Apollo, London, on 11 and 12 July 2012. Both shows sold out within 24 hours of tickets going on open sale. A third London date was added for 14 July. On 30 June, Queen + Lambert performed in Kyiv, Ukraine at a joint concert with Elton John for the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation. Queen also performed with Lambert on 3 July 2012 at Moscow's Olympic Stadium, and on 7 July 2012 at the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw, Poland.
May has been referred to as a virtuoso guitarist by many publications and musicians. He has featured in various music polls of great rock guitarists, and in 2011 was ranked number 26 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". In January 2007, the readers of Guitar World voted May's guitar solos on "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Brighton Rock" into the "top 50 Greatest Guitar Solos of all time" (No.20 and No.41 respectively). Former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar stated, "I thought Queen were really innovative and made some great sounding records... I like the rockin' stuff. I think Brian May has one of the great guitar tones on the planet, and I really, really love his guitar work." Justin Hawkins, lead guitarist of the Darkness, cites May as his earliest influence, saying "I really loved his tone and vibrato and everything. I thought his playing sounded like a singing voice. I wanted to be able to do that. Whenever I went to guitar lessons, I was always asking to learn Queen stuff."
In January 2012, May featured on N-Dubz frontman Dappy's solo single "Rockstar", providing "rumbling guitar riffs which culminate in an electrifying solo". The pair also collaborated on a performance of "We Will Rock You" for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.
Queen performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London on 12 August 2012. May performed part of the "Brighton Rock" solo before being joined by Taylor and solo artist Jessie J for a performance of "We Will Rock You". On 16 September 2012, May appeared at the Sunflower Jam charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall, performing alongside bassist John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin), drummer Ian Paice (of Deep Purple), and vocalists Bruce Dickinson (of Iron Maiden) and Alice Cooper.
According to The Sunday Times Rich List of 2019, May is worth £160 million. He has homes in London and Windlesham, Surrey. May's father Harold was a long-time heavy cigarette smoker. As a result, May dislikes smoking, to the point where he was already prohibiting smoking indoors at his concerts before many countries imposed smoking bans. He is an active animal rights advocate, and was appointed a vice-president of animal welfare charity, the RSPCA, in September 2012. A vegetarian, May has stated that meat eating is responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic. May describes himself as agnostic.
May is a long-term champion of woodland as a haven and "corridor" for wildlife, both in Surrey, where he has a house and elsewhere. In 2012, he bought land threatened by building development at Bere Regis, Dorset and, in 2013 and with the enthusiastic support of local villagers, initiated a project to create an area of woodland, now called May's Wood (or "the Brian May Wood"). The wood consists of 157 acres (64 ha), formerly under the plough, planted by May's team of co-workers with 100,000 trees. May's Wood is said to be flourishing.
The collaboration was revived in 2013, when the three performed together at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on 20 September. Five months later, May, Taylor and Lambert announced a 19-date summer tour of North America on Good Morning America. Because of ticket demand, five dates were soon added. In May 2014, shows in Australia and New Zealand were announced, along with festival performances in South Korea and Japan. The tour was extended to the UK and greater Europe in early 2015. The group performed together in South America in September 2015, including Queen's first performance at the Rock in Rio Festival since 1985.
In 2013, a new species of the genus Heteragrion (Odonata: Zygoptera) from Brazil was named Heteragrion brianmayi—one of four Heteragrion flatwing damselflies named after the bandmates, paying tribute to the 40th anniversary of Queen's founding.
In 2013, May joined French guitar player Jean-Pierre Danel for a charity Danel launched for the benefit of animal rights in France. The guitarists signed guitars and art photos together, and were joined by Hank Marvin.
In May 2013, May teamed up with actor Brian Blessed and Flash cartoonist Jonti "Weebl" Picking, as well as animal rights groups including the RSPCA, to form Team Badger, a "coalition of organisations that have teamed up to fight the planned cull of badgers". With Weebl and Blessed, May recorded a single, "Save the Badger Badger Badger"—a mashup of Weebl's viral 2003 Flash cartoon meme, "Badger Badger Badger", and Queen's "Flash", featuring vocals by Blessed. On 1 September 2013, "Save The Badger Badger Badger" charted at No. 79 on the UK Singles Chart, No. 39 on the UK iTunes chart and No. 1 on the iTunes Rock chart. In June 2013 naturalist Sir David Attenborough and rock guitarist Slash joined May to form the supergroup, Artful Badger and Friends, and released a song dedicated to badgers, "Badger Swagger".
In 2014, May co-founded Asteroid Day with Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, B612 Foundation COO Danica Remy and German filmmaker Grigorij Richters. Asteroid Day is a global awareness campaign where people from around the world come together to learn about asteroids and what we can do to protect our planet. May was a guest at the 2016 Starmus Festival where he also performed on stage with composer Hans Zimmer. The theme was Beyond The Horizon: A Tribute To Stephen Hawking.
During the New Horizons Pluto flyby NASA press conference held on 17 July 2015 at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, May was introduced as a science team collaborator. He told the panel "You have inspired the world." On 31 December 2018 through 1 January 2019, May was in attendance at the watch party for the New Horizons flyby of the Kuiper belt object, 486958 Arrokoth, and performed an updated version of his "New Horizons" celebratory song.
In July 2015, May criticised UK Prime Minister David Cameron for giving Members of Parliament a free vote on amending the ban on fox hunting in England and Wales. During a live television interview, he described the pro-hunting organisation the Countryside Alliance as "a bunch of lying bastards" for their support for a change to the law. The vote was postponed by the government following the intervention of the Scottish National Party's Westminster MPs, who committed to vote to keep the ban as it existed. May told anti-hunt protesters in a rally outside Parliament that it was "a very, very important day for our democracy" but added "we have not yet won the war, there's no room for complacency".
In 2016, the group embarked across Europe and Asia on the Queen + Adam Lambert 2016 Summer Festival Tour. This included closing the Isle of Wight Festival in England on 12 June where they performed "Who Wants to Live Forever" as a tribute to the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida earlier that day. On 12 September they performed at the Park Hayarkon in Tel-Aviv, Israel for the first time in front of 58,000 people. In September 2018 the group had a residency in the MGM Park Theater in Las Vegas. Though the collaboration remains active, there are currently no plans to record a studio album, though the three are willing to do so in the future. On 31 March 2020, Queen + Adam Lambert confirmed that their touring dates planned for the year were postponed until 2021 because of the global coronavirus outbreak.
In June 2017, May endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 general election. May shared an article on Twitter by The Independent headlined "Jeremy Corbyn says Fox hunting is 'barbarity' and pledges to keep it banned" and captioned it: "Well, I guess that just about clinches it !! Anyone see any good reason not to prefer the evidently decent Corbyn over the weak and wobbly Mrs May? Bri".
In 2017, May published Queen in 3-D, chronicling the group's 50-year history. It contains over 300 of his own stereoscopic photos and is the first book about the band published by one of its members. Included with the book is May's patented OWL Stereoscopic Viewer. As part of May's role as a collaborator with the NASA's science team on the New Horizons mission, he worked on the first stereoanaglyph based on images of 486958 Arrokoth that were captured by the spacecraft.
In October 2018, May said, "I don't like all this separatist stuff and you know this sort of illusion that we can all stand on our own, to me the future lies in co-operation. I get up every day and put my head in my hands about Brexit – I think it's the stupidest thing we ever tried to do." He also said that Prime Minister Theresa May was "driven by vanity and thirst for power".
In the 2018 biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody, he was portrayed by Gwilym Lee. May himself served as a creative and musical consultant for the film, and worked especially closely with Lee.
On 29 March 2019, May inducted Def Leppard into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He worked with contemporary metal band Five Finger Death Punch and blues artist Kenny Wayne Shepherd to re-record a new version of "Blue on Black" in support of The Gary Sinise Foundation in April 2019. The artists came together to merge country and mainstream rock to re-create the classic song originally co-written by Shepherd. At the end of the month he also performed songs including "All the Young Dudes" with Def Leppard's Joe Elliott at a Mott the Hoople show at the Shepherd's Bush Empire.
In 2019 he was awarded the Lawrence J. Burpee Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for outstanding contributions to the advancement of geography.
In 2020 he participated in the team that contributed the stereography images - as he declared on Instagram - to a publication in Nature Communications.
May has been vegan since taking part in the 2020 Veganuary challenge.
May experienced a small heart attack in May 2020. It required the insertion of three stents into three blocked arteries. May said he had been "very near death".
Currently, Brian May is 75 years, 4 months and 11 days old. Brian May will celebrate 76th birthday on a Wednesday 19th of July 2023.
Find out about Brian May birthday activities in timeline view here.