The March of the Black Queen


Brian Harold May was the only child of Harold and Ruth May, was born on July 19th 1947 in Hampton, London and attended Hampton Grammar School (now Hampton School).
During this time he formed his first band with vocalist and bassist Tim Staffell named Nineteen Eighty-Four (from 1964 to 1968) after George Orwell's novel of the same name. He graduated from Hampton Grammar School with ten GCE Ordinary Levels and four Advanced Levels in Physics, Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Additional Mathematics.

Child Brian with mum, at school and playing the guitar. Unknown details.


 Above: Brian with his hand-made 'Red Special' guitar. The original Red Special was built by Brian May himself along with his father. They began to work on the guitar in August 1963. Most of the wood came from an 18th century fireplace mantel that a friend of the family was about to throw away.

1984 (1964-1968)

Brian May - guitar
Dave Dilloway – bass guitar
Bill Richards - guitar
Malcolm Childs - guitar
John 'Jag' Garnham - guitar
Richard Thompson - drums
Tim Staffell – vocals, harmonic

 1964 - Brian's beat group "1984" at an airfield in Hertfordshire. Bri's the one in the cardigan with the guitar.

Brian during the "1984" days. Right:"The Left Handed Marriage" pictured with their guest guitarrist Brian May (college scarf and gloves) in Marble Hill Park in Twickhenham in the winter of 1966.
Below: 1967, September 9th - "1984" in action at the battle-of-the-bands contest at the Top Rank club, Croydon. "One of the most forward-looking groups today", wrote the 'Middlesex Chronicle'. brian May idolised Jimi Hendrix to such an extent during this period that he was nicknamed "Brimi".

Here's 1984 at that battle-of-the-bands contest. L to R: Tim Staffell, Dave Dilloway, Richard Thompson, John Garnham and Brian May in 1968.
1984 continued after Brian enrolled at Imperial College in Kensington (to read physics and infra-red astronomy). After that, it was a graveyard slot for 1984 at London's key underground music event of '67 "Christmas on Earth Continued", following the likes of Traffic and Pink Floyd onstage. But there was a little other progress. Brian left 1984 in 1968, hanging up his guitar to concentrate on his university studies. But towards the end on 1968, Brian and Tim teamed up again, this time with Roger Taylor, to form Smile.
Late picture from '1984' band.