Brian May ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ solo voted Greatest Guitar Solo


BRIAN MAY and ‘BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY’ voted The Greatest Guitar Solo Of All Time !!!

Total Guitar cover February 2021

– print and digital

The new issue of Total Guitar Magazine for February 2021  reveals the results of a poll to find The 50 Greatest Solos Of All Time – as voted by readers of

Brian May, who came in at No 1 with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ guitar solo –   is interviewed about the track  as part of their feature titled, ‘The 50 Greatest Solos Of All Time’.

BRIAN MAY: “I grew up with Clapton and Jimi Hendrix and The Who, and it’s all in there. You can hear it in me, definitely.”  

Thank you to all who voted.

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QUEEN (1975)
The biggest rock song of all time?

Probably. And, we’d argue, a worthy winner of the TG greatest solo poll. Following Freddie Mercury’s death and after that cameo moment in Wayne’s World in 1992, Bohemian Rhapsody became a trigger point or a worldwide outpouring of affection and respect for Queen. Their renewed popularity would continue into the new millennium as Ben Elton’s We Will Rock You musical and the band’s discovery of a different way to exist behind frontman Adam Lambert would bring their music to a new generation. GUITARIST BRIAN MAY

And Bohemian Rhapsody? Well, unsurprisingly, it’s Queen’s best-known song, and its brief nine-bar solo is a short and sweet musical interlude, bridging the verses to lead into what’s become known as the ‘opera section’. Those two words alone should warn you that this song shouldn’t work. There’s no chorus. Aside from two verses, there’s no repetition. And there’s an opera section! But of course it does work, and Brian May’s solo is the perfect melodic break. His phrasing is loose and natural, moving across the backbeat rather than sticking to a rigidly-timed grid. The fastest licks are expressive bursts, rather than repetitive noodling. And Brian’s articulate pre-bend and vibrato technique demonstrates his beautiful touch.

Somehow, within the confines of the complex structure of Bohemian Rhapsody, this solo just works. Here, in TG’s exclusive interview, we catch up with our number one guitarist Brian May to talk about the writing process, and how he made the melody that was in his mind work in Mercury’s masterpiece…

Brian May - Total Guitar Feb 2021