Brian May facts: Queen guitarist's age, family, wife, children and career explained

5 June 2024, 15:50 | Updated: 6 June 2024, 13:13

Brian May in 2023
Brian May in 2023. Picture: Getty

By Tom Owen

Brian May is a name synonymous with rock and roll excellence.

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As the legendary guitarist of Queen, Brian May’s unique sound and virtuosic playing helped shape the band’s identity, contributing to some of the most iconic songs in rock history.

Beyond his success with Queen, Brian May is not only a celebrated musician but also an accomplished astrophysicist, earning a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London. His dedication to both music and science has made him a unique figure in popular culture, respected in academic circles as well as on the stage.

May’s contributions to music extend beyond his guitar work; he is also a prolific songwriter and producer. Hits like ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘The Show Must Go On’, and ‘I Want It All’ bear his signature style. His innovative use of the Red Special, a guitar he built with his father, has become legendary, further cementing his status as one of rock’s greatest guitarists.

  1. How old is Brian May?

    Live Aid At Wembley Stadium
    Live Aid At Wembley Stadium. Picture: Getty

    Brian May turned 76 in 2023. He was born on July 19, 1947, in Hampton, London.

    His parents were Harold May and Ruth Irving (née Fletcher). Harold May was a draughtsman at the Ministry of Aviation, and Ruth was a homemaker.

  2. How did he get his start in music and when did he join Queen?

    Queen. Picture: Getty

    Brian May's start in music began in his teenage years when he formed his first band, 1984, with school friends in 1964.

    He played with various bands during his school years, but a significant step in his musical journey was forming the band Smile in 1968 with Roger Taylor, who would later become Queen's drummer.

    Smile had some local success, but it wasn't until 1970 that May, Taylor, and Freddie Mercury (then known as Farrokh Bulsara) joined forces to form Queen.

    John Deacon joined as the bassist in 1971, completing the iconic lineup. The band released their self-titled debut album, Queen, in 1973, marking the beginning of their rise to rock stardom.

  3. What songs has Brian May written?

    Queen - We Will Rock You (Official Video)

    Brian May has written numerous songs for Queen, many of which have become iconic.

    Some of them include:

    • We Will Rock You
    • The Show Must Go On
    • I Want It All
    • Who Wants to Live Forever
    • Tie Your Mother Down
    • Hammer to Fall
    • Flash
    • Save Me
    • Now I'm Here
    • Fat Bottomed Girls
  4. Is Brian May married and does he have kids?

    Brian May and Anita Dobson in 2018
    Brian May and Anita Dobson in 2018. Picture: Getty

    Brian May married actress Anita Dobson in 2000. Prior to this, he was married to Christine Mullen from 1974 until their divorce in 1988.

    Brian May has three children from his first marriage with Christine Mullen:

    Jimmy May, born in 1978, Louisa May, born in 1981, and Emily Ruth May, born in 1987.

    Brian May with daughter Louisa in 2024
    Brian May with daughter Louisa in 2024. Picture: Getty
    Brian May and daughter Emily in 2011
    Brian May and daughter Emily in 2011. Picture: Getty