Freddie Mercury Once Gifted Brian May A Mixtape Of His Queen Guitar Solos

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

March 3, 2021

For all the bickering the four members of Queen did during their heyday, there was no shortage of mutual admiration among them.

The band's 2018 biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, depicted this on-screen, and guitarist Brian May says it was true in real life.

It's no surprise why. Each member of Queen — May, drummer Roger Taylor, bassist John Deacon and frontman Freddie Mercury — authored or co-authored classic songs for the band's catalog, in addition to delivering inspired performances on songs brought in by their bandmates.

Case in point: May's iconic guitar solo from "Bohemian Rhapsody," the band's most famous work, written by Mercury.

In a recent interview with Total Guitar, May entertained a deep dive into his guitar work on the track, discussing how the band executed Mercury's "evolving" vision for the song over time.

Mercury loved May's guitar playing and was keen on carving out a place in the song for May to "effectively sing a verse on the guitar." The "Bohemian Rhapsody" session was one that unfolded in the film much the same way May remembers it.

When prodded about the collaborative environment within such a competitive band, May explained that while the members of Queen certainly enjoyed taking the piss out of one another, they usually did so "in a very positive way. We were always pushing each other to try things."

May went on to recall one of Mercury's most heartening displays of affection: a cassette that compiled his greatest guitar work in their band.

"You know, one day Freddie had a big smile on his face when I came into the studio and he popped a cassette into the player and said, 'Listen to this, darling. This is going to surprise you,'" May said. "And what he'd done was spend the whole morning putting together all the guitar solos that he could find in the work that we'd done, and he'd strung them all together.

"It was quite amazing. And one of my big regrets is I can't find that cassette. I never throw anything away. I'm a bit of a hoarder. So it ought to be somewhere. But Freddie was very proud of the stuff that I'd done and what we'd done together."

Read the full conversation here.

Photo: Getty Image

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