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Last Updated: Friday, 10 June 2005, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
Queen guitarist May's long career
May formed seminal rock band Queen with Roger Taylor
Queen guitarist Brian May's CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, recognising his services to music, is another landmark in a career spanning four decades.

With the hugely successful rock band Queen, May enjoyed huge worldwide success.

Born in Twickenham, Middlesex, in 1947, astronomy student May formed Queen with drummer Roger Taylor in the early 1970s.

They recruited flamboyant singer Freddie Mercury and bass player John Deacon.

Queen's powerful glam rock sound - including May's distinctive guitar solos - and Mercury's camp theatrics meant they soon enjoyed a couple of top 10 hits and established a strong live following.

Their innovative seven-minute "mini opera" single Bohemian Rhapsody elevated them to the stadium concert league.

Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor
May and Queen drummer Roger Taylor continue to work together
Released in 1975 and again in 1991, the single spent a total of 14 weeks at number one in the UK charts.

In 2002, May said: "It has become a classic phenomenon and one which no one will ever allow us to forget."

A run of hit singles and albums followed. Songs like We Will Rock You, Somebody to Love and We are the Champions became anthems.

Charity work

They recorded the soundtrack to the film Flash Gordon in 1980 and collaborated with David Bowie on the single Under Pressure the following year.

A memorable performance at Live Aid was generally considered to be among the highlights of the charity show.

But the band's output lessened in the late 1980s as they concentrated on other projects.

And the band suffered a huge loss when Mercury died of Aids in 1991, having battled the illness for some time.

May went on to release solo work and the rest of the band worked together sporadically.

In recent years he began to work with younger acts like Robbie Williams and the Foo Fighters.

Queen singer Freddie Mercury
Queen singer Freddie Mercury died in 1991
In 2002, the remaining band members collaborated with Ben Elton on the Queen musical We Will Rock You, which continues to run in London's West End.

The same year, May played a solo on the top of Buckingham Palace as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Celebrations.

May and Taylor reformed Queen for a tour this year, with former Free singer Paul Rogers filling Mercury's shoes. Bassist Deacon has stopped playing live.

May, whose partner is former EastEnders actress Anita Dobson, is involved with many charities including Nelson Mandela's 46664 Aids awareness campaign.

He is also patron of the British Bone Marrow Donor Appeal (BBMDA).


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