BRIAN MAY ON BBC WORLD SERVICE RADIO DJ PROGRAMME

21-23 January 2001


Contributor Maki (edited by JenX)

 

This week we welcome the GUITARIST OF QUEEN - BRIAN MAY

Hi folks this is Brian.

And for the next half an hour and so I'm gonna be with you playing some of the music which has inspired me over about four decades.

We'd better get straight on with it - we have a lot to do.

This is "My Generation" by The Who.

*music (My Generation - The Who)

OK. Just to put the record straight, the inventors of punk music are obviously, The Who and not any these people who came along a lot later and decided that they would claim credit for it. I don't think you can get more 'punk' than that. And really that's the beginning of, I would say pretty close to the beginning of, English Rock Music and I have unbelievable memories going along and seeing The Who, having coins thrown at them at the Albert Hall and making aeroplane noises for hours on end. And it was unbelievably dangerous and unbelievably good.

I'm gonna push on now. I'm gonna play you a few more of those records which sent shivers on my spine and still do, I have to say. I think this is probably the best pop record of all time. It's a big claim, isn't it? It's The Beatles and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand".

*music (I Wanna Hold Your Hand - The Beatles)

Hi folks, this is Brian. I'm very happy to be with you on the World Service, reaching you all those far away places To me, all us, far away places. That was The Beatles, of course, utterly inimitable and still fresh as daisy, I think.

The next record is about the far away place and it's by The Led Zeppelin, who really brought a lot of mystery and lot of class, an incredible inventiveness to music and the kind of music that I've involved with over these years. You very seldom would hear this on the radio. So here's a treat for people who like real music. It's called "Kashmir".

*music (Kashmir - Led Zeppelin)

What a monumental track that is - "Kashmir" - and Jimi Page, of course, this is the craftsman behind that, the inspiration, and features one of the greatest drummer the world has ever seen, John Bohnam.

Next track is by the master of all time - Jimi Hendrix - in my opinion. This track is not the one that people usually play, but to me it's just unbelievably fresh and it' bursts out of the speakers as much as it ever did. It's called "Gypsy Eyes". As usual he was completely groundbreaking in the stuff in he's playing on this and his voice is wonderful as well. He didn't have any confidence in his voice. I know this for a fact, not because I, I had the chance to talk to him, but I talked to his tour manager, who was our tour manager for many years - all those Queen shows that you saw. But here's Jimi Hendrix, an amazing mixture of bravado and sensitivity and just genius.

*music (Gypsy Eyes - Hendrix)

That was the great Jimi Hendrix, who lives still in the track that's called "Gypsy Eyes".

This is Brian May speaking to you on the World Service. I'm gonna continue with one of our own tracks here, because like Bob Geldof said, "It's my party and I'll do what the hell I want." The one I've chosen is short, at least, mercifully, and it's called "We Will Rock You".

And I have to say I'm very proud of this 'cause it continues to be kind of be a flag that waves all around the world, and if you listen to the words, it has an interesting message, which is nothing to do with like being a huge rock band and trailing around the world. It's just a message about life and I'm pleased that's it become a kind of anthem in various sporting and entertainment ways. OK, enough. This is "We Will Rock You", and it's Queen.

*music (We Will Rock You - Queen)

OK folks. That was a little group that I used to be in called Queen and it was "We Will Rock You". There was actually new version of that last year, which reached No.1 in a lot of countries around in Europe and as far away as Australia. We did it in collaboration with a fine bunch of boys called 5ive, who're doing very well. They're out on tour at the moment.

(Sharp intake of breath) So - we live on. Going way, way back in time, this is Buddy Holly, and Buddy Holly in his short career of, I think just a couple of years, did so much. This track has to be my favourite -"Maybe Baby". I remember running down to my record shop and I remember the smell of record shop of all the vinyl and it was stacked up to the ceiling, and I remember first holding this record in my hand, which was in a brown cover, as all Buddy Holly records and the Crickets were, and this is actually the Crickets. Buddy Holly was part of the Crickets when this record was made, and to me it's another spine-chiller. The backing harmonies and the way the guitar sounds- it's a killer.

*music (Maybe Baby - Buddy Holly and the Crickets)

That was of course, the late great, Buddy Holly. I sound like one of these DJ's on the late-night jazz shows, don't I? Er, anyway, he's late and great for me. "Maybe Baby" is the track.

The next one is - well, itís very special to me, and it's by a group called Rainbow, put together by the wonderful guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore, but also featuring one of the world's greatest drummer, who I was privileged to work with for a long time, Cozy Powell. Cozy told me how this track got made. He said it was just something they heard and practised for about five minutes and went in and laid down. This, to me, is an archetype of rock music but accessible rock music, I guess, cause it was hit record and I guess could easy be again - "Since You've Been Gone".

*music (Since You've Been Gone - Rainbow)

That was Rainbow and "Since You've Been Gone" written by Russ Ballard - a great rock classic.

I'm gonna wind up now. They tell me I have to go, but I'm gonna leave you with Guns'N'Roses - to me, probably one of the last great rock'n'roll bands to travel the boards, travel the earth the way we did. I actually toured with Guns'N'Roses with my own band for a while, and they've been friends and I have a great respect for them.

I recently played on Axl's new record, which will be the new Guns'N' Roses, which I believe is out this year. This is their great hit, "Sweet Child O' Mine". Almost a debut single, I think, but it was massive.

And this is Me, winding up. Thank you for having me - on the World Service. I hope to be with you all soon. And take care out there and "Rock on", OK?

Lots of love.

Bye for now.

*music (Sweet Child O'Mine - Guns'N'Roses)

END

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