Brian May’s Suggestion To The Royal Family
The international celebration, The Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II, was held in 2002 as part of the Queen’s fiftieth year on the throne with remarkable events in the UK and Commonwealth realms; Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, and countless others. The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, traveled there to be with the people from there.
Although her sister, Princess Margaret, and mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, passed away a short time before the Jubilee and the media predicted that there wouldn’t be like old time celebrations, the Royal Family didn’t change the traditions. One of these events was a performance by Queen drummer Roger Taylor and lead guitarist Brian May who had a different and exciting idea about that.
What Did Brian May Ask From The Royals?
Queen released their fourth studio album, ‘A Night at the Opera‘ on November 21, 1975. The record received very positive reviews from music critics and rock music lovers all around the world with its well-crafted sounds and lyrics. Their version of ‘God Save the Queen,’ which took place in the album and originally was a national or royal anthem, drew not only their fans’ attention but also the Royal Family’s.
To celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, the British pop/rock music concert named The Party at the Palace took place on June 3, 2002, at Buckingham Palace Garden. Many iconic musicians such as Ricky Martin, Tony Bennett, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, and many more performed shows. As one of them, Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor were asked to play ‘God Save The Queen.’
The initial plan was for the band members to run through Buckingham Palace rooms like the late guitarist Jimi Hendrix, but the Queen guitarist had concerns about it. During one of his conversations with Umusic, May admitted that he wasn’t comfortable acting like Hendrix, an extraordinary talent that was impossible to copy or replace. The guitarist suggested that he could perform it on the roof instead of what they requested.
Brian May also revealed that he couldn’t believe that they accepted his offer about their performance. As a result of this choice, May and his crew had to figure out some problems with his communication with the orchestra, which was down there. Still, thanks to their efforts, the guitarist and Taylor could perform an unforgettable concert to celebrate the Jubilee while May was on the roof.
Brian May detailed the situation, saying:
“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 are a few things that I didn’t feel comfortable about. I mean, trying to be Jimi Hendrix is one of them.
Then I had this thought; I remember waking up with the thought the next day, and I thought where I needed to be was 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 that sticks in my mind because then I thought, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to do it now!’ The enormity of what I’ve suggested comes through to me, and I think, ‘Oh my God, can I do this thing?’“
You can check out the performance below.