Queen's Brian May: “Kids today don’t know The Beatles as much as they ought to”

Brian May
(Image credit: Andrew Chin/Getty Images)

Brian May has spoken about the impact The Beatles had on himself and his generation, while also commenting on how he feels the Fab Four aren’t as widely recognised by today’s younger audience as they deserve to be.

In an interview with The Express, May spoke about the influence of The Beatles’ music on Queen’s own songwriting, and as with many musicians of his generation and beyond, it’s no surprise that May holds Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr in the highest regard.

“The Beatles were our bible. Absolutely at every stage in their career and their music development, they were models. And they still are to me, I must say.” 

He continues, “I love all those albums. To me, they are the greatest. They are the pinnacle of writing, performance and ethos of rock music. They broke down so many barriers, they changed the world many times. I will always love The Beatles without any reservation.” 

However, the Queen guitar hero went on to say that he feels The Beatles’ influence isn’t felt as strongly with a younger generation of music fans in the way that Queen’s is, in-part owing to the fact that a full biopic like Bohemian Rhapsody has never been created about The Beatles and that he believes it "should happen one day". 

“I feel like they’ve been underrepresented in the world as it is today. The kids today don’t know the Beatles as much as they ought to. The Beatles should be woven into people’s lives in the way Queen music is these days,”

Of course, one of the biggest music-related TV shows of 2020 was Peter Jackson’s fly-on-the-wall documentary, which captured the writing and recording of Let it Be. 

The three-part, 468-minute series aired exclusively on the family-friendly Disney+ service, although it’s a detailed snapshot of a particular time rather than a career-spanning biopic. 

The Beatles’ early days were also the subject of the 1994 film Backbeat (soundtracked by supergroup, The Backbeat Band comprising Dave Pirner, Greg Dulli, Thurston Moore, Don Flemming, Mike Mills and Dave Grohl), and 2009’s Nowhere Boy recounts Lennon’s early life and career.

Brian - who has covered the George Harrison-penned Something with collaborator, Kerry Ellis -  went on to speak about his interactions with his heroes. "I’ve met Paul a few times, done a few things. He’s a great guy and an animal campaigner as I am. Yeah, I wish I saw more of him really but life doesn’t always let you do this stuff. 

"I met Ringo a couple of times just briefly. Kinda just socially because Freddie was quite close to Ringo at one time. But I never had an in-depth conversation with him. 

"Never met [John Lennon], very sadly. I wish I had, I would have loved to have done. What a wonderful talent and a wonderful voice. Incredible" before adding that George Harrison once played on of his guitars while they were woking alongside eachother at the Water Rats Charity Ball in 1992. "I love George, I love his playing. I think he’s still underrated. Wonderful!”

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.