Rock Aid Armenia

Today is the birthday of Brian May, legendary Queen guitarist, which gives me an excuse to play this monster of a track (and also pour further scorn on’s Top 50 Guitarists of All Time poll, as discussed previously, by noting his senseless exclusion). It’s the re-recording of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’ in aid of earthquake relief efforts in Armenia following the Spitak ‘quake of December 1988.

The earthquake was of a moderate size, measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale, yet aftershocks of up to 5.0 in magnitude continued for months in the area around the town of Spitak, which was virtually razed to the ground. Freezing winter temperatures and inadequate building construction contributed cruelly to the tragedy; some 25,000 people were killed, including 400 children at a school in Dzhrashen, south east of Spitak, and 80 per cent of medical professionals. A further 15,000 were injured and 517,000 made homeless.

For this cause, an international charity campaigner called Jon Dee suggested that the music industry ought to do something. David was the first to accept the call. It would also be the first time that he and Brian May had played together. (They’d go on to work on the 1991 Comic Relief charity single, ‘The Stonk’, which Brian May also produced.)

Recording began in July 1989 at Metropolis studios, Chiswick, London, and was completed over five sessions.

Taking it in turns with David and Brian on lead guitar were Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, as well as Alex Lifeson of Rush; respected session musician, Geoff Beauchamp, played rhythm guitar; vocal duties were shared by Bryan Adams, Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan and Paul Rodgers (how long have you got? Free, Bad Company, The Law, Queen…); with Chris “Fish” Squire of Yes on bass, Queen’s Roger Taylor on drums, Geoff Downes of Asia on Hammond organ and Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Keith (Emerson) on keyboards.

Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones and Jon Lord of Deep Purple were also credited for their assistance behind the scenes.

So, all in all, not a bad line up.

The song spent six weeks in the UK charts, reaching a respectable No.39 in December 1989. (For old time’s sake, have a look at the other songs in the charts back then. How many of those do you remember and do you now appreciate all the more my use of the word “respectable”, considering the bland pap that kids were buying – for fun, nobody forced them – back then?)

An Earthquake album and video were released in 1990, consisting of original tracks donated by those involved (Pink Floyd’s ‘One Slip’ was included on the video). It was the first charity album to achieve ‘gold’ status in the UK. Together, the single, album and video raised an estimated $100,000.

Another noble effort, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Last October, those most actively involved in the project (Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi and Geoff Downes, as well as David and Brian May), together with organiser Jon Dee, were awarded a special Order of Honour on behalf of Armenian President, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.

A 20th anniversary re-mix of Rock Aid Armenia’s ‘Smoke on the Water’, plus versions of the original mixes and a new re-edit of the promo video and ‘Making of…’ documentary, is to be released globally via iTunes this year, with the proceeds assisting further relief projects within the earthquake zone.

You can find out more about Rock Aid Armenia at this fine site, which includes some rather nice photos from the recording sessions and launch, and some not-at-all-nice ones of the crippling devastation caused by the earthquake.

As well as your thoughts on the song, album and video (best charity single ever?), I’d also like to know which are your favourites of Brian May’s work.

Happy Birthday also to drummer Ged Lynch, who, of course, played on On an Island – on ‘Take a Breath’. He was also the subject of our very first blog post.


  1. Fran

    I love Queen! I have too many favourites to list, but the one I was just listening to was “The Show Must Go On”. So sad. 🙁

    I thought the Rock Aid Armenia single really rocked and didn’t know that David received an award for his part in it. That’s so nice.

    I didn’t know about the video or album.

    • FEd

      I have too many favourites to list, but the one I was just listening to was “The Show Must Go On”. So sad. 🙁

      Very sad, that one.

  2. Andrew

    One of my favorites has always been, “Hammer to Fall” and just about everything on “News of the World.”

    Brian May and the Foo Fighters also did a great job on Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar.”



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  4. Damian Cunningham

    Hi Fed.

    I have caught the making of this, and yes, who could forget Bryan May, and the wonderful sounds he brings out of his guitar? I’ve heard made by his Dad and he uses a silver sixpence.

    I would also like to mention a great guitarist who never seems to get much of a mention Micky Moody i.e. Whitesnake who I went to see in ’79 at Preston Guild Hall. Well, they were really Deep Purple, without Mr Grumpy Pants I’m-so-far-up-my-own-arse Ritchie Blackmore. 😮

    Kind regards

    I enjoyed the chat the other day, sorry lost connection as I live in the sticks a bit.

  5. NewYorkDan

    OMG, read the first blog about Ged Lynch. The Blog has come so far in 4.5 years.

    I knew David had done a solo on the track, but I did not know how involved he was behind the scenes. That’s an impressive array of rockers (Geoff Downs, Steve Howe, Tony Iommi, Brian May, Keith Emerson… Someone for every musical taste).

    And on the charts at the time… Dusty Springfield, Duran Duran, Milli Vanilli… THAT made me chuckle.

    • FEd

      The Blog has come so far in 4.5 years.

      :)) I don’t think anyone knew what it was supposed to be in the beginning. I’m not entirely sure that that’s not still the case, in fact.

    • Pete - Coventry

      so who still posts here regularly now and was posting regularly then?

  6. Paul Sexton

    The Queen and Paul Rodgers DVD where they open with Tie Your Mother Down is hairs on the back of you neck stuff… Brian said he got his sound from Rory Gallagher, nuff said!

  7. za

    Hello (it’s a little late in the evening),

    I had my first album of Pink Floyd in 13 years. Today I have almost 49 (years old, not albums!)

    I rediscovered you thanks to a friend. Since I listento On an Island (and Live in London and Gdansk) almost every day. And I make everybody listen to the album. A friend said to me: ‘Oh, I like this sound, who is it?’ I answered: ‘Finally! David Gilmour naturally!’

    ‘Ah yes, naturally! He’s the better!’ he answered. I said to him: ‘Beyond the family’s “packaging”, my education: it’s the Pink Floyd which made it and finally I remained faithful to them.’

    In fact, I tried to escape when I was 13 years old (divorce of my parents + adolescence).

    Today I continue: to try to escape certain realities. And I get better by listening to you.

    Thanks to be on earth, you and your music. Then, simply THANK YOU. And PLEASE come to play in France!


    Fortunately, Hugo my son plays guitar(s), piano and drums. He’s quite a fool of music (especially guitars, as a lot of youngsters). It’s the only thing that interests him in the life (except his girlfriend). I believe that he inherited from the musical chromosome of my liked grandmother (who played piano and violin and who did not regrettably know him because he was born 7 years after her “departure”) and I dream that he digs his furrow (groove) and is happy in this way.

    I stop there, send a good night.

    THANK YOU again.

  8. Alessandra

    My favourite Brian May songs are “’39”, from the album “A Night at the Opera”, “Who Wants To Live Forever” and “Hammer To Fall”.

    Some time ago a friend of mine who loves Queen, lent me a book. I can’t remember the title right now, but it was a Brian May’s biography and I read in it that his first band, called “Smile”, played as support to many other band, during ’68 and ’69, including Pink Floyd.

    I don’t know if David was already in the band, though.

    • Michèle


      Apparently, his first band was named ‘1984’ (a reference to the Orwell novel we were talking about recently here) and you’re right, “Smile’s first show was on October 26th 1968 at Imperial College supporting Pink Floyd.”

      See here.

      I think that David was aleady in the band in October 1968, no?

    • Hydrea

      Oh, I love “Who Wants To Live Forever”.

      A very powerful song!

      Good call Alessandra. 8)

    • Alessandra

      Thanks for the link, Michèle. 🙂

      I guess I read somewhere that David played for the first time as a member of Pink Floyd in January 1968.

      Maybe I read it in Nick Mason’s book, but I can’t check it now.

    • NewYorkDan

      I can confirm: David joined PF in December 1967 and did his first gig in January 1968. Per Nick Mason’s book.

  9. lorraine

    Some fine eighties hairstyles and fashion in that video. I always feel there’s order in the universe when I see David in a black t-shirt, likewise seeing a comment from Werner in that first blog post.

    Hasn’t Brian May got fabulous legs!

  10. KenF

    As she said: “… I have too many favourites to list” however, continuing the melancholy mood set by Fran, how about…

    ‘Who Want’s To Live Forever’ or, for real sad there’s ‘These Are The Days Of Our Lives’ it could almost be David playing on that track, Brian sounds very similar to his style on there.

    On a more upbeat note, ‘Now I’m Here’, ‘Headlong’ and ‘Ride The Wild Wind’ are personal favourites.

    ‘I Want To Break Free’ has to be the campest record of all time, love it. :)) Having said that though, Queen’s ‘Hot Space’ album had some very dubious tracks on it, take ‘Back Chat’ as an example, nice to see Brian on a Telecaster however.

    • KenF

      OBTW, Happy Birthday to Brian and Ged.

      It’s about time he did some more session work for David… 😉

      Take the day off today though, Ged… 😛

  11. KenF

    Did you check out ‘The Damned United’ yet FEd?

    There was some tasty footage from the ’74 Charity Shield against your boys. How did they ever get away with some of those tackles?

    Still, it was de rigueur in those days wasn’t it?

    • FEd

      Crunching tackles for sure.

      I did check it out and I enjoyed it, Ken; thanks for reminding me that it was on BBC iPlayer.

      Good actor, Michael Sheen. Thought he was good in Frost/Nixon, too.

    • Paul Sexton

      Just watched the Cloughie documentary that was on after the film… great stuff!

    • Rudders - Toronto

      And Michael Sheen is Welsh as well… he’s a Port Talbot boyo.

  12. Michèle

    I enjoyed very, very much the video. Thank you. ‘Smoke On The Water’ is one of my favourite Deep Purple songs (along with ‘Child In Time’).

    Seeing as I’m not a Queen fan, maybe it’s a shame but I don’t know Brian May very well. But what I read on Wikipedia pleased me:

    He studied Physics, Mathematics, ‘Reflected light from interplanetary dust and the velocity of dust in the plane of the Solar System’. He wrote scientific research papers. Wow! 😉

    And even better, he has formed a group to promote decent treatment for animals. See here and here.

    So, my song will be ‘Save Me’ (written by Brian May). 🙂

    • FEd

      And even better, he has formed a group to promote decent treatment for animals.

      I had no idea that Brian May had done such a thing. Top man.

      “We cannot stand by and allow Britain to be bullied by a small minority – a minority that cannot let go of its desire to torture innocent animals.” — Save Me website

      I couldn’t agree more. If the Hunting Act is repealed, I will spit blood – preferably into the empty face of someone wearing plaid and jodhpurs who thinks chasing an animal and then watching it being destroyed by other animals is ‘sport’. Perhaps we could also consider bring back the stocks and ducking stool for those members of the community whom we suspect of being wicked?

      I have e-mailed my MP. He must be sick of me by now, I probably e-mail him once a fortnight.

    • Hydrea


      Have a great holiday in Greece!

      See you on Chat. 🙂

      Bye, Hydrea

    • JulieD

      If the Hunting Act is repealed, I will spit blood – preferably into the empty face of someone wearing plaid and jodhpurs who thinks chasing an animal and then watching it being destroyed by other animals is ‘sport’.

      Well spit at me then, FEd! Because the ONE thing that I agree with Roger Waters on is my dislike of the Hunting Act. I used to live on a farm and help out and saw for myself the appalling devastation the fox used to do to the farmers chickens. The fox would wipe out a whole flock. They did not do this for food, they would just get in the chicken house and kill every one of those chicken for nothing and leave carcasses around everywhere.

      I’m sure the foxhunt is not only to “watch” one fox being destroyed by it’s hounds. It is also the thrill of the hunt, the running the sights and sounds. And the hunt does not illegally run onto people’s land, farmers normally give approval and partake themselves.

      I used to love watching a foxhunt go past my cottage. There was nothing quiet like the sound of the hounds running across the fields and the horses running after them. I used to have to hold my Alsation back because he wanted to run with the hounds. The sight was wonderful too of all the riders in their coats (mostly green and checked) with the odd red coat. It is another tradition that has been snuffed out. And not all the riders were posh either.

      Soon there will be no tradition left, I mean some Councils don’t even let us use the word “Christmas” anymore because it is seen as politically incorrect.

      The foxes are now making their way into town anyway.

      In my opinion, animal rights protesters are the only ones who get away with terrorism too.

      So there is my humble opinion. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same. 🙂

    • JulieD

      In my opinion, animal rights protesters are the only ones who get away with terrorism too.

      Or rather, I should have said “animal rights activists”…

    • FEd

      They did not do this for food, they would just get in the chicken house and kill every one of those chicken for nothing and leave carcasses around everywhere.

      So why aren’t we chasing cats on horseback, blowing our horns merrily and encouraging our dogs to tear them limb from limb? Don’t they do much the same, solely for their amusement, because it’s their nature to do so?

      Foxes are rarely brave enough to square up to cats; they’re one of the least aggressive mammals. And they do kill chickens for food. They kill more than they need to eat or can carry away because such surplus killing is instinctive. Chickens can’t get away if they’re cooped up, which makes it too easy for the fox. The fox will bury its prey and return to it later, wherever possible.

      You know that I always appreciate a view different from my own, but this is one I will never back down on. I abhor animal cruelty in all its forms, particularly when it’s for the amusement of humans.

      But, as you say, it would be a boring world if we were all the same. 🙂

    • JulieD

      So why aren’t we chasing cats on horseback, blowing our horns merrily and encouraging our dogs to tear them limb from limb? Don’t they do much the same, solely for their amusement, because it’s their nature to do so?

      Well, my cats eat everything except the stomachs of their kill. No matter how much I feed them. They operate on instinct. 😛 As a matter of fact all my cats in the past did this too. I used to have 5 cats over 20 years ago.

      I cannot help my opinion either, I just love tradition and love the sight and sounds of a hunt going on. I guess countryside ways stay in one’s blood. I cannot help it.

      I have to admit, I have seen photographic images of the end result of a fox hunt, which is not nice, but the quorn is not killing a hundred foxes, it only kills one.

      However, on a separate note, I saw an appalling programme by Louis Theroux once which took place somewhere in America. There were these fat Americans who went into a pens with some wild animal armed with a rifle and shot the animal dead, took it home and said that they went hunting. Now that was outright disgusting.

      Did you know the Orca plays with its food too? You probably do. 😀

    • ash

      Thank you for the information about Brian May, Michèle; given what I have learned about him because of this blog, I also now have much respect for him. 🙂

      I sent a link a while back (I think the object should be renamed after the Black Strat, or Great Gig in the Sky, but anyway). I think it worth sending the link again with the following caption in honour of Queen.

      “Burning through the sky yeah, two hundred degrees that’s why they call me Mr Fahrenheit, I’m travelling at the speed of light…”

      This link contains a bit more info about it.

      ash (who beat Rudders to a caption and is now running away :)) )

    • jan

      However, on a separate note, I saw an appalling programme by Louis Theroux once which took place somewhere in America. There were these fat Americans who went into a pens with some wild animal armed with a rifle and shot the animal dead, took it home and said that they went hunting. Now that was outright disgusting.

      Julie: I’m sure you mean in the U S, and as I reside there, I have to say I am as appalled as you are. I believe that one of the providers of these ‘canned’ hunts is none other than Ted Nugent. Horrible man in my mind. Has animals from Africa imported to kill.

      I am an ‘animal rights’ person, but in my own quiet way. I don’t belong to an organization or do picketing etc. Just that I hold my opinions about this and contribute quietly.

      I applaud Brian May. Seems that man has a brain to reason with but that animals are acting instinctively and just to exist. Hard to reason with what is a natural thing and man has done enough already to change much that was natural.

      But, that aside. You are right we all have our opinions and one of mine is that you are one of my favorite bloggers so I hope you will not be offended with me.


    • Michèle

      Just read that.

      How awful. What do these people deserve? I won’t reply, I would be too violent.

  13. Andrew

    With Brian’s strong interest in astronomy is it any wonder that he and David Gilmour get along?

    After all, Pink Floyd released albums such as “Dark Side of the Moon.” And, they recorded songs such as “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” and “Eclipse”. :))



    • NewYorkDan

      …Not to mention David’s covers of Syd Barrett’s song “Astronomy Domine” on PULSE and the “Live and in concert” DVD.

  14. Andrew

    Interesting that the Queen bass player, John Deacon, seems to have distanced himself from Brian and Roger ever since Freddie Mercury died. Actually he states that he has retired from the industry yet he is the youngest member of the band. Seems he has no ill feelings against Brian because when Brian regrouped Queen with Paul Rodgers, John was fine with it.

    Bass players are a strange bunch. :))



  15. Jill

    I’m disturbed and dismayed that I never knew of this recording. I blame it on being American, really. I’m a little more globally oriented these days and for that I blame the Internet. And thank the Internet. I’ll thank all involved for the very literal and real chills that ran up and down me while listening/watching this video.

    Brian May is a genius. He is. He has his own sound and I know it no matter where it can be found. I got the third Bat Out of Hell recording, didn’t bother to read the credits and thus was seen running around the room yelling “That’s Brian!!!” His licks on “Bad For Good” are soooo tasty.

    I think its to some extent that May is shy and doesn’t put himself forward. He lets the work speak for him. I have his “Back To The Light” album and it’s a good’un. I think also he has a sense of whimsy and humor that fools people into thinking he’s not ‘a serious artist’. Well, “’39” from A Night At The Opera is a work of genius and that’s that.

    As for Rolling Stone I like to remember their most featured person on their covers back in the ’80s was Don Johnson and they refused to review many artists for not being serious. Many are my favorites. Insert your own obscene invitation to Rolling Stone here.

  16. John nff

    First of all Happy Birthday to Brian May. He is one of the all time best.


    Never really cared for Queen. Their songs never really brought me to where I like to be taken. I think they tried too hard to please the ‘progressive’ and ‘rock’ music lovers at the same time with little success. There just seems to be something missing. Kind of like a raspberry is just a wannabe strawberry, or like using a condom is like wearing a raincoat in the sunshine.

    After listening to any Queen songs I really need to listen to Floyd or Genesis or Yes or Hawkwind etc. to expel the frustration of listening to something that is just kind of off.

    • ash

      I like your use of ‘a condom… raincoat’, analogy. :))

      I don’t actually understand it, being a girl an’ all that. :!

      I confess to also never really becoming a Queen fan. Dunno if it was the time or the places I was going or people I mixed with. Just never got into them. Great though they were at what they did.


    • John nff

      Ha! Ha! Thanks Ash.

      Just means that you know that there is something great going on there, or could be, but it’s just not quite getting through, leaving you with a somewhat empty feeling that need to be fulfilled elsewhere.

  17. Piero

    Hi everybody,

    it’s my birthday today and I’d like to tell to David that I really feel lucky to have the chance to listen to his music everyday, especially today. The great love I have for his voice and guitar skills makes me feel alive. I’ll be 26 at 7:50 pm but I’ll be working at that time…

    I hope that one day we’ll meet each other and have a beer all together with FEd, David and all the blog friends… wouldn’t it be awesome?


  18. Michèle

    Happy Birthday, Piero, I think it’s today… 🙂

    And Happy belated Birthday to Frank, too. 🙂

  19. jan


    I love ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’. Saw on YouTube the version with Monseratt Caballe. It was stunning at the Olympics then in Spain.

    An instrumental version was used during the pairs skating this past winter Olympics in Canada. Very beautiful melody. Makes me sad to hear it though, considering Freddie’s passing.


    • Alessandra

      Saw on YouTube the version with Monseratt Caballe. It was stunning at the Olympics then in Spain.

      I saw it, too, and I agree. 🙂

      The instrumental version must have been perfect for pairs skating.

  20. jan


    Hope that I have not been adding too much to your daily grind. Lately I seem to be posting several days off of the blog date. Just don’t get the chance to get in here as often as I want lately.

    Hope all has been well with you and that you are enjoying a good summer.


  21. Denise

    🙁 It seems Gary McKinnon will be trialled here in the UK. Here’s the story.

    Personally I think the whole thing is crazy. Why don’t they leave the poor chap alone, after all he has apologised, what more can he do. Awful situation.


    • Alessandra

      It seems Gary McKinnon will be trialled here in the UK. Here’s the story.

      I tried to open the link but it seems it’s no longer available. 🙁

      What about Gary McKinnon? Any updates? I think I missed some months.

    • FEd

      Well, the political editor of ITV News, Tom Bradby, tweeted recently that President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron (no, it’s not getting any easier to say that) have been discussing a possible deal which would enable Gary McKinnon to serve some or all of any potential sentence in the UK.

      Video here.

  22. Denise

    😀 I think Queen are fabulous and I’m a big fan, so Happy Birthday, Brian May. Mwah mwah mwah.

    I suppose David and Brian get on cos they are both “Strat Freaks”, ha ha ha.

    • Andrew

      I suppose David and Brian get on cos they are both “Strat Freaks”, ha ha ha.

      Actually, Brian is not a Strat freak. Brian actually built his first guitar (The Red Special) along with his father. That guitar he used for all his recordings (with a few exceptions like using a Fender Telecaster for recording Crazy Little Thing Called Love).

      The guitar has 3 modified Burns Trisonic pickups. He also has multiple switches on the guitar. The guitar was built with wood from an oak fireplace mantle. Also some of the parts on the guitar came from a motorcycle as well as a knitting needle from his mom. It is quite an amazing instrument and is one of the reasons for the special sound Brian May delivers when playing.

      I can just imagine what a bonding experience that was to work along with his father on this and how that guitar still reminds him today of his dad.

      Further, John Deacon, who I mentioned earlier, built an amplifier that May uses. It is called the Deacy Amp. It was also constructed with various parts and is instrumental to the Brian May sound.

      The man is talented in many different ways.



  23. Pete - Coventry

    Saw Queen live about 1973/74 ish. Seven seas of Rye had been in the charts. Didn’t really enjoy them then and never really did after.

    However I was at Ronnie Scott’s (in Brum, before it became a lapdance club) to see Peter Green at the beginning of his comeback gigs. The lights went down and on came Peter and the Splinter Group. At that moment 4 people shuffled past through the darkness and onto the table next to ours. Of course I opened my mouth and went on a rant about people not getting in on time and disrupting those that had. Lights went up at the interval and I noticed that those latecomers were Brian May and partner (forget name but EastEnders actress) and Tony Iommi and partner… whoops.

    After many grovelling apologies they did see the funny side.

    • FEd

      Brian May and partner (forget name but EastEnders actress)

      That would be Anita Dobson, who played Angie Watts in EastEnders.

  24. Michèle

    And I didn’t know that Brian May was also a good singer.

    Here he is performing ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’ with Luciano Pavarotti. I think it was a concert in Modena in 2003, a benefit event held in aid of Iraqi refugees.

    Isn’t it beautiful? A lot of emotion in these two voices. I just love their performance (except Brian’s suit… 😉 ). Love Pavarotti, too.

    • Stephanie

      And I didn’t know that Brian May was also a good singer

      Michèle, even a third Queen member is a very good singer: Drummer Roger Taylor .

      Have a nice vacation!

  25. Beppo the Mime

    I have this documentary on Laser video disk (remember that flash in the pan format? Haha). Well, it’s an incredible making of look. The Gilmour section is great. The way the documentary works is this. Much candid interview and you are there segments connected with every guitarist playing on the single being interviewed, then footage showing them playing to a playback of the track, then more footage showing them recording their actual track during one or more sessions. Mssr Gilmour is jamming with Brian May in one scene, and recording alone in another. The off-the-cuff jamming he does to the playback is OTHERWORLDLY! Plus his comment about Misery Guts has me rolling on the floor laughing every time!

    The documentary is WELL worth the purchase and when it comes out it will also serve the dual purpose of entertainment AND donations to a worthy cause!

    Have it us, then!

    • Andrew


      What was the name of the Laserdisc release? I still own a player as well (actually two) and they work great.



  26. Stephanie

    Belated Happy Birthday, Brian May.

    Love his guitar sound and sometimes he reminds me of David.

    One of my favs: “Bijou” from “Innuendo”.

    And his fight for the animals – admirable. Those who can do it, please support the Save-Me campaign.

  27. ash

    I obviously must have heard about the earthquake but had forgotten. I didn’t know about Smoke on the Water and the earthquake album and video (my only excuse is motherhood). 😕

    Thank you for this interesting blog post Fed but much more, Thank You to David and all concerned for your endeavors to help the people of Armenia.

    I’ve spent a good few hours today reading a lot about Armenia, it’s history, geography, current affairs and relations with other countries.

    I would never have bothered had it not been for David’s involvement.


  28. frank par

    Happy Birthday Brian. Even though I wasn’t a Queen fan, I do appreciate the music the band put out. Some great ones by the way!


  29. Alessandra

    If anyone is interested, here is “Brian’s Soapbox”.

    Here he receives letters and speaks about many different issues, including astronomy, photography, music (not as often as we could imagine), and charities.

    I discovered his website some time ago and I’ve been reading it from time to time, since I knew he’s so interested in ecology, global warming and animal testing.

    Sorry, I know those topics are my obsessions. 🙂

    • FEd

      Really enjoyed that, Alessandra – thanks. The man rises ever further in my estimation.

      (Now that I’ve said that, I’ll admit that I’ve never been a big Queen fan.)

    • Alessandra

      I’ve never liked Queen music very much, too.

      Before my boyfriend and a friend of mine convinced me that I should have listened to their entire albums, I only knew their more famous songs and I had never minded their lyrics or interviews, so I ignored what kind of people they could be, or which could be their personal interests.

    • jan


      Adding this to my bookmarks so I can read from time to time. I appreciate some of his views and always like to learn new things.

      Thank you.


  30. JulieD

    FEd, I know you are level headed and I am hoping without bias that you might like to read this. I know your views on the subject, but I thought it would be interesting.

    BTW, I was watching Wildlife SOS (another charity I would love to give to) on Animal Planet and as Simon Cowell was releasing a young adult swan, I’m sure I saw David’s houseboat studio moored on the river. So it must have been Simon must have freed the swan in Hampton Court’s grounds.

    • FEd

      Thanks, Julie. I got as far as

      In the last 55 years three independent inquiries, two of them commissioned by Labour Governments, provided no evidence to conclude that hunting causes cruelty

      before checking again what MFHA stands for and finding that it’s the ‘Masters of Foxhounds Association’, which ‘represents 176 packs of foxhounds that hunt in England and Wales and a further 10 in Scotland.’

      Which is a bit like asking WeightWatchers if their frozen ready meals are nutritionally-balanced and proven to assist weight loss. (They’re made by Heinz and what do they care about animal welfare, anyway?)

      As for the fox having no natural predator, what about man? Not only have we robbed the fox of its habitat, but some of us are intent on chasing and killing it for ‘sport’, which I will always consider cruel, even if the MFHA want me to think that fox-hunting is all warm and cuddly really.

      Next they’ll be saying that the fox enjoys it.

      They don’t say that, do they?

    • jan

      Would just like to add that it is sort of like which came first the chicken or the egg (No! wait you’ve solved that one)… beautiful red foxes are becoming rare here. Unfortunately, we live on what used to be their land, so they eat our chickens. And, we kill them for their beautiful fur for a coat. Only time I can excuse that is for the early man who needed them for warmth to survive.

      How many dogs, horses and men does it take to kill one fox? Sport??


    • JulieD

      How many dogs, horses and men does it take to kill one fox? Sport??

      Yep, that is right. Just ONE fox, not a whole bunch of foxes, just one measly fox. I’m sorry to sound so cold and callus, I am not, I am a huge animal lover, but it is just another tradition that is been consigned to the dustbin. One fox versus 50 or so chickens, geese or whatever.

      At least we don’t wear fox fur any more in Blighty. What will happen to the ever so handsome and intelligent Foxhound? They are a very rare and old breed too.

      The UK hardly has anything left. At least people in the US of A still have the Harley Davidson etc etc etc.

      And Jan, you do not offend me in the slightest. 😉 I just like to voice opinions every now and then.

      By the way, a question for Michèle and Paul Sexton, is fox-hunting still legal in France and Ireland?

    • jan


      And Jan, you do not offend me in the slightest. I just like to voice opinions every now and then.

      Thanks, Julie. I enjoy reading others opinions. Good to exchange information as I can always learn new things and am prepared to be open to new thoughts and info.


  31. Andrew

    O, and one other interesting guitar related fact about Brian May. He does not use a regular guitar pick/plectrum. He uses a sixpence coin. Not an easy thing to find these days.



  32. Alessandra

    Off topic, sorry.

    What do you think about this?

    I just wonder how the organizers of the Love Parade could think to direct more than 1 million of people through one tunnel entrance only.

    Wasn’t it an announced tragedy?

    • Alessandra

      I didn’t remember about the Hillsborough disaster, so I searched it on Wikipedia. If I read well, the police had a big responsibility in that tragedy.

      I don’t know why our TV news compared what happened in Duisburg with the Heysel disaster, in Brussels. They’re two completely different situations, in my opinion.

      Those people in Duisburg were not violent at all. They were just trapped, while trying to join a free party. They were not responsible of what happened.

      I don’t think it’s fair to compare those quiet people with the violent fans at Heysel.

    • Hydrea

      So, I’m very shocked about this tragedy.

      Unfortunately I remember also what happened in June 2000 at Pearl Jam’s concert at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.

      It’s really absurd and I’m in shock until now.

  33. Marco

    Gilmour, you’re my favorite guitar player and a big inspiration! Unfortunately you never come to Brazil. 🙁

    Please, come here someday, and show the Brazilians the true Pisces power!

  34. Dave

    Brilliant clip. David looks like he was having a great time. The Nile Song on the ’69 More album showed David’s “heavy” style with some great guitar work and Nick Mason’s awesome drumming. Shame they never played it at gigs.

    P.S. The write up under the clip gives the impression that Ritchie Blackmore was in Black Sabbath. Whoops!

  35. Patricia

    For some reason that escapes my mind now (probably a childhood memory) I like Brian’s “Sail Away Sweet Sister (To The Sister I Never Had)” from “The Game” album.
    It sounds completely different from the other tracks, a very intimate song, not to mention the exquisite guitar playing.

    About the video, this is really awesome! I wish this sort of effort could happen more often (not just after tragedies). Seeing and listening to so many talented artists perform together for a good cause is worth the money and time we fans spend on records, gigs, blogs… that’s why they deserve to be called “Stars”.

    May your life be full of joy, Brian May!