Brian May Says He Didn’t Feel Comfortable With Imitating Jimi Hendrix
Brian May recently spoke about his jaw-dropping performance at the Buckingham Palace 20 years ago. Queen’s rocker explained how he ended up there and revealed that they wanted him to play like Jimi Hendrix.
In 2002, Queen was asked to perform at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen’s 50th year as a reigning ruler. This was an important event for Great Britain, and it featured many other iconic names from the music industry, including Paul McCartney, Bryan Adams, and Elton John. As Queen was also invited to rock the stage and celebrate Queen Elizabeth, May had a unique performance in mind.
When they were proposed to attend the event, Brian May was told that they wanted him to play ‘God Save The Queen’ but by adopting Jimi Hendrix’s style., which was unusual and made May feel very uncomfortable. However, according to what he recently said on episode 47 of their documentary, the idea he came up with was unique enough to make him forget he was ever told to be like Hendrix.
Even though Hendrix was one of the most influential guitar players in the world, every guitar player’s technique is different, and being told to imitate another could make them uncomfortable. In return for May’s uneasiness, he came up with an idea to play the guitar all by himself on the roof of the Buckingham Palace, which worked out just fine and earned him a spot in the minds of their fans.
Here is the story told by May:
“They said originally ‘Would you come and play a version of ‘God Save The Queen’ strolling through the state rooms of Buckingham Palace and in the style of Jimi Hendrix?’ Now there were a few things in there I didn’t feel comfortable about. Trying to be Jimi Hendrix is one of them. And then I remember waking up with the thought the next day. I thought where I need to be is not strolling through Buckingham Palace rooms, but, up the top, I need to be on the roof.
I need to be the lone piper who’s been up there for the last 50 years in wind and rain. Grizzled, old campaigner still playing. So, I rang them up and suggested it, and they went, ‘Yeah, Okay.’ That is the moment which sticks in my mind because then I thought, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to do it now!’ The enormity of what I suggested comes through to me, and I think, ‘Oh my God, can I really do this thing?'”
You can watch May recalling the incident below.