'It changed me': The night Brian May played 'God Save The Queen' on the roof of Buckingham Palace
14 January 2022, 10:35 | Updated: 16 September 2022, 12:03
Brian May was taking part in the concert 'Party at the Palace' in 2002 when he played an incredible guitar solo of 'God Save The Queen' on the roof of her Majesty's primary residence, Buckingham Palace.
The performance has since become a highlight of British music history, one that Brian May – nor anyone present – will ever forget.
The lead guitarist of Queen has recently spoken out about the experience and how it has 'changed him' as a person.
It was June 3, 2002 and May was due to perform at 'Party at the Palace' – a concert in celebration of the Queen's Golden Jubilee – when it was decided he would do something out of the ordinary to open the night.
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The Queen guitarist then made his way all the way up through the floors of the palace and out onto its roof high among the battlements, for an extraordinary performance of 'God Save The Queen'.
Brian performed the lonely solo high above the city and was accompanied by an orchestra far below him in the palace gardens, whilst being projected live to millions of people across the world.
Speaking about the performance 20 years later, May said it had a profound effect on his life.
“The roof was a very special thing, that’s something you do once in your life," he told Express.co.uk, adding: "It was riveting and it was terrifying for me and it changed me as a person.
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"After I’d done that I felt I’d never be afraid of anything again," he continued. "That was truly walking on the edge of a precipice."
The Queen star gave a nod to how dangerous the stunt was and what a miracle it was that it all went smoothly.
"Forever I will be proud of that moment because that was really breaking barriers, breaking frontiers. And so much could have gone wrong. I’m so grateful that it didn’t!”
The event saw the great and the good of pop and rock music come together in Buckingham Palace Gardens to celebrate Her Majesty's 50 years as monarch.
Brian was later joined on stage by Roger Taylor to play 'Radio Gaga' with Phil Collins on lead vocals and 'We Will Rock You', 'We Are The Champions' and 'Bohemian Rhapsody', with the cast of the west end's We Will Rock You.
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Other performances included Tom Jones singing 'Sex Bomb', Brian Wilson joining the Corrs for a beautiful rendition of 'God Only Knows', Elton John performing 'I Want Love' and Eric Clapton giving a rousing rendition of 'Layla'.
Other musicians who performed on the night included Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne, Annie Lennox and Tony Bennett, who performed in front of a 12,000 people, with an estimated 1 million people in the streets surrounding the palace and over 200 million watching on TV worldwide.
Watch Brian May perform on the roof of Buckingham Palace below:
The concert marked the culmination of a huge national day of partying across the country and included some of the biggest hits from the Queen's 50-year reign, and ended on an incredible high.
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Brian May, Roger Taylor, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton were joined by Phil Collins, Brian Wilson and Joe Cocker for an epic rendition of the Beatles classic 'All You Need Is Love'.
The incredible line-up has since been touted by many as the greatest concert in Britain since Live Aid, and the gig is now considered the most impressive collection of musicians on a single stage.