Brian May recalls recording his debut album while losing Freddie Mercury

13 August 2021, 08:00

Brian May on the struggle of recording whilst losing Freddie

The Queen guitarist spoke to Chris Moyles about the re-release of his Back To The Light album and recording a version of Too Much Love Will Kill You with Freddie Mercury.

Brian May spoke to The Chris Moyles Show this week about the reissue of his debut solo album.

The legendary Queen guitarist has looked back at the time he recorded his Back To The Light album, which originally came out on 28 September 1992, less than a year after his friend and bandmate Freddie Mercury died from AIDS.

The rocker remembered using music to cope with the impending loss of the Queen frontman, which he called "the most major major thing you can imagine".

"The group wasn't just a group for us," he explained to Chris Moyles. "It was our family and losing Freddie is like losing a brother. I'm also losing my dad at the time and my marriage is breaking up. So what do I do? I try and make music and music is very often the way out. It helps. It gets you through."

The rocker also recalled how Mercury's re-recording of his Too Much Love Will Kill You track gave it a whole new meaning.

May's version of the track went on to feature on his own album, but Queen recorded a version with Freddie's vocals, which later appeared on their Made In Heaven album four years after the frontman's tragic passing.

Reflecting on what Mercury must have felt singing the song, the guitarist mused: "What was in his mind was probably not my relationship stuff, which is what the song was really written about.

"Freddie, I think at that time probably knew that he was under threat from this awful disease, which was going to take him eventually. So the song at that point became transformed."

"That happens anyway whenever Freddie would used to singg. He would he would make it his own and in this case it was special."

Brian May's 2021 reissue of Back To The Light is out now.

READ MORE: Brian May wrote more of Queen's hits than you thought

Brian May speaks to The Chris Moyles Show
Brian May speaks to The Chris Moyles Show. Picture: Radio X

Speaking about the reissue in a statement, May said that he was initially “nervous” about the prospect of revisiting his work and asked himself: "‘What is this going to dredge up in me?'”.

I'm really just hoping it will connect with people who have never heard this stuff before. They know me as guitarist for Queen. Some know me as an astronomer. Some know me as a campaigner for animal rights. I’m a sort of evangelist for 3-D Victorian Stereoscopy. But very few people have heard my solo output.

"So I’m excited to see how this turns out. I found it fascinating going back in there and rediscovering why I wrote certain things. What they meant to me. How we recorded. Some of it is so massive in the recording I can hardly believe we pulled it off – it’s very epic, some of it. And I like that.

"At the same time, there’s little corners of it which are very simple, very understated, very emotionally naked. I discovered so much of what I’m saying in the album I still feel. I still feel those dangers, those fears, those hopes, those dreams."

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