Brian May – Ultima Thule single released, Press Conference, interviews, reports


Brian May’s new single – first solo work for two decades – was released early this morinng. Check out the official music video:

Brian May – New Horizons (Ultima Thule Mix) [Official Music Video] – Link | Amazon

Already No 4 in iTunes Rock Music Chart 1 January 2019

iTunes Rock Music Chart 1 Jan 2019

Brian May spoke at New Horizon Press Conference last night:

Brian May at New Horisons Press Conference 31 December 2018

Video: LINK and HERE


BRIAN MAY: Alan [Stern] called me about five months ago and said “Can I call you on something?” So I thought, “It’s going to be something important. He’s calling me to see if he can call me” and he said, “Can you make some music for the Ultima Thule flyby?”

And I thought “Ah – This is probably gonna be hard because I can’t think of anything that rhymes with Ultima Thule”.

So I had this doubt in my mind but then I went away and the thing started to buzz around in my head and I could hear some music of some kind. I could hear some music of an object plummeting through space faster than anything’s ever been launched away from this Earth, and I got kind of inspired but I didn’t really have a lyric. But gradually it dawned on me that this mission is about human curiosity. It’s about the need of mankind to go out there and explore and discover what makes the Universe tick, and this has been going on since the dawn of time.

So in a sense my song, my track, my anthem, became about the human spirit endeavouring to discover the Universe.

So with that in mind I went out to dinner with another very old friend of mine, Don Black.

I don’t know if you know who Don is, but he’s a very iconic lyricist. He’s worked with all kinds of people way back into history including Andrew Lloyd Webber, and he wrote ‘Born Free’, which is an iconic song about Nature and the way we’re screwing it up – very very forward-looking song really. But I went out for dinner with him and explained what I was doing. He got very inspired and he said “Well this is really interesting”, you know. “Maybe I can offer you something.”

So I go home. The next morning I wake up and in my email box is a little email from Don Black with two very simple verses as ideas for the beginnings of this song, so at that point I was inspired. I was kicked into action. They’re very simple. The idea is – I think the best ideas are always simple you know, so what he gave me was:

“New horizons to explore
New horizons…”

I forgot what it is now [Laughter]

“New horizons that we’ve never seen before…”

Now that sounds very simple and I thought, “I don’t know if that’s really going to express what I’m going to say”, but I started to kind of move around that and it became the song that I wanted to write with Don. So this is a song which is an anthem to human endeavour if you like.


Thanks to Astronomy Now


Brian May BBC Radio 4 Today Programme 31/12/2018

Brian May’s Skype interview with BBC Radio 4 – about the New Horizons Ultima Thule flyby and new single track. The rock legend Brian May has released a song to celebrate the flyby of Ultima Thule by Nasa’s New Horizons probe. With a PhD in astrophysics. He also plans to work on some of the probe’s images when they come back to Earth. Brian May spoke with Martha Kearney on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.


BRIAN MAY: It’s surreal I gotta say. You know standing up there doing the countdown to the New Year and thinking this is very bizarre because it’s not the kind of thing that I usually do, you know, but the fact that I can merge the science with music and contribute to the whole experience in an unusual way has given me great pleasure and pride because there is an incredible romance, isn’t there, about Ultima Thule so far away, the furthest ever explored by humankind and possibly the oldest.

That’s right, yeah. It touches me really because it’s very emblematic in my mind of the human spirit having a need and a desire to reach out and just go places to discover what the universe is around him, you know, so to me the song is about that quality in human beings that makes them question and makes them want to understand the universe they live it.

You decided to mix in some of Stephen Hawking’s voice into the music. Why did you do that?

It was a gift really. I was looking for a little piece of text which would help sum up the spirit of the piece and my collaborator in all things Astro, Claudia Manzoni, she found me this little tribute from Stephen Hawking to the New Horizons mission so his voice goes out with my track into the four billion mile voyage out there beyond Pluto who’s New Horizons.

I think it’s your first solo work isn’t it the what 20 years?

Yes I didn’t really think it would turn out that way – didn’t occur to me. It’s been a long time since I regarded myself as a singer and I probably still don’t to be honest but to me this is very personal and in the end I liked it and I thought, “Yeah okay, this is me and maybe this is the beginning of me rediscovering solo energy really”.

So it could be new horizons for you personally

Yeah it could be new horizons means a lot yeah. I think we all need new horizons in a New Year. I think it’s very apt for that, as well, yeah, and it’s making me think, you know. It has changed my perspective somewhat.

Brian May, many thanks.


Video: Queen guitarist Brian May discusses his song celebrating Ultima Thule flyby 1 January 2019
1 January 2019

Queen guitarist and contributing New Horizons scientist Brian May wrote a song celebrating the spacecraft’s New Year’s flyby with Ultima Thule, a supposed block of ice and rock in the Kuiper Belt beyond the orbit of Pluto.

May is expected to release the track shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, where scientists, space enthusiasts and the media are gathered for the the New Horizons spacecraft’s encounter with the most distant planetary body ever explored up-close. The rock star astrophysicist discussed the song with reporters on New Year’s Eve, a few hours before the flyby.

Queen’s Brian May Writes New Solo Track For Historic NASA Mission 31 December 2018 by Pam Windsor

New Horizons: Nasa waits for signal from Ultima Thule probe
1 January 2019


NASA spacecraft opens new year at tiny, icy world past Pluto
1 January 2019 by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer