Brian May was born in Hampton Hill, England in 1947 and started his musical career in 1963. After being a member of several bands in his youth, the musician helped to form Queen in 1970, which became one of the most successful bands of all time.
Alongside Roger Taylor (Drums), Freddie Mercury (Vocals) and John Deacon (Bass), May created praised albums. Those records helped them to reach the incredible number of 250 to 300 million records sold worldwide.
May’s guitar work was crucial for the unique sound the band created and he continues after decades to be praised as one of the best guitarists in history. But the musician also talked a lot about his peers over the years and even said which guitar player, in his opinion, should get more recognition.
The guitarist that Brian May said should get more recognition
When Queen released their self-titled debut album in 1973, the United Kingdom already had countless successful bands fighting for space in the music business. Most part of them he had the chance to see evolve up-close since he was already part of the scene even before the band managed to make their first album.
He always praised many guitar players that appeared during that era or a few years before him. One of them was the Deep Purple co-founder Ritchie Blackmore, who May always said should get more recognition.
In an interview with My Planet Rock‘s back in 2013 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), the Queen member chose Rainbow’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” as one of his favorite songs of all time. He praised Blackmore, saying people should talk more about his amazing work.
Originally written by Russ Ballard (Argent), the track was covered by Rainbow. The Hard Rock band was formed by Blackmore after he left Deep Purple, on their 1979 album “Down To Earth”.
“Okay, what has popped into my head is ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’, because I think is a quintessential. I suppose you call it Pop Rock in a sense, you know. But it’s uncompromising. It’s a great song and it’s brilliantly played. I mean, the drums, my dear friend Cozy Powell of course, long gone and I worked with him. It was a wonderful experience working with that guy.”
Brian May continued:
“He had Rock all the way through him, an amazing guy. And of course Ritchie Blackmore playing guitar, who is extraordinary. People don’t talk about Ritchie Blackmore enough. I don’t know why. But he was such a trailblazer and technically incredible, unpredictable in every possible way which is great. I mean, that’s what you love isn’t?”
“You go to a gig and you want to see something which is not predictable, not like just reproducing something. You never knew what you were gonna see when you went to see Purple when Blackmore was in it. But also Rainbow.”
“This (Rainbow) was his own thing and it was wild and dangerous. This is a good Pop record. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that is great Rock music in my opinion. I think it’s perfect,” Brian May said.
He said that Blackmore is a fireball as a player
Ritchie Blackmore first achieved fame as a member of Deep Purple from 1968 until 1975 when he decided to leave the band and was replaced by Tommy Bolin. In that same year he formed Rainbow that remained active until 1984 when Deep Purple’s classic line-up from the early 70s reunited again. At the time the group had Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice and Jon Lord.
He remained in the group until 1993 when he left once more reactivating Rainbow until 1997. Since then he has been on the road and recording with Blackmore’s Night, the renaissance music band that he has with his wife Candice Night. He reformed Rainbow with a new line-up in 2015 but only made a few concerts.
In that same year a documentary called “Ritchie Blackmore Story” was released and one of the people who were interviewed for it was Brian May. The musician once again praised Blackmore and even said that he is like a fireball when performing.
“(Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) “He’s a fireball, you know. He really is beyond belief. His technique is incredible. Where did that come from? I have no idea. And this is before Hendrix. Ritchie really is a great originator and creator of the wild electric guitar.”
“No, it’s not just speed (That is Blackmore’s secret). There is a lot of people that can play fast now. But they can’t be Ritchie Blackmore. I think Ritchie will be remembered as somebody wild and untamed to the end of his days. I think that’s a magnificent thing to be. When people get things all in perspective, Ritchie will be right there as one of the cornerstones of what Rock and Roll is today,” Brian May said.
During that same conversation he noted that even though many people say that the guitar riff for “Smoke On The Water” is easy they are wrong. Although it is usually one of the first riffs a person learns how to play, no one can play it like Blackmore according to May.