Brian May re-releasing song Freddie Mercury gave ‘generous blessing to be my solo track’

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Earlier this week, Brian May announced he will be releasing a remastered version of his first solo album Back To The Light, thirty years after the record originally debuted. And now ahead of this, the Queen guitarist will be re-releasing the classic single Driven By You alongside a brand new music video. What’s particularly interesting about this rock anthem, is that Freddie Mercury himself gave his blessing for Brian to use the track as part of his solo work rather than as a Queen song.

Brian May shared how Driven By You helped create a special understanding with Freddie Mercury during his final days in 1991.

The Queen guitarist said: “I played it to Freddie and I said, ‘Freddie, you know if this becomes a Queen track, which it might do, obviously you should sing it.’

“He listened and went, ‘You’ve done it very well darling, and I think you should sing it’.

“Now whether that’s because he really did think I sang it well or just because he didn’t want to sing anything, I don’t know.”

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Brian continued: “But [Freddie] said, ‘It’s beautiful, it’s great, it’s very complete in its own way, you should do it.’ And he said something very profound at the time.”

The Queen singer, who had been battling AIDS, knew his days could be numbered so encouraged his dear friend and bandmate to work hard at his solo music.

Freddie told Brian: “You know we’re all thinking and wondering what’s going to happen to me, and you don’t have to feel embarrassed about it.

“You know you should be thinking about your solo career at this time and if this is the beginning of your solo career then it’s a very worthy beginning.”

Freddie added: “This is probably the beginning of your finding your wings as you need to do.”

Brian remembered: “So Freddie was very far-sighted and very generous as always and sort of gave me permission to do this as a solo track, which I did.

“I rewrote the words as a piece of relationship therapy, you know, ‘Everything I do is driven by you’ and put it out as a single and it was a hit.

“So it was a nice boost to me to feel I could do things on my own. I wasn’t just a piece of Queen. And that’s what I believe about the core of songs; sometimes you don’t know why you’re writing them.”

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Brian added: “You don’t know where it’s coming from, but it can be channelled into a way which makes sense in various ways. And things are always about life for me; they’re always about relationships.

“Either my relationships or relationships with people around me. It’s about humans interacting. That to me is the most exciting thing in the world; the most important thing and the hardest thing to get right in your life.

“A lot of people can do great stuff. You know, fly aeroplanes, go to the Moon. Relationships… not so easy. So it’s about that as always.”

Driven By You was written for a Ford car television commercial and was originally released in November 1991, a day after Freddie tragically passed away.

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But the song Freddie gave his blessing to be Brian’s own solo track was a hit and no doubt the late singer would have been so proud of his friend.

Driven By You’s new music video gets its world premiere later today at 4pm BST.

Brian posted on Instagram yesterday: “Don’t miss the first showing of our brand new video edit of DRIVEN BY YOU – on the official Brian May Youtube channel.”

Driven By You is available to download and stream today, while Brian May’s Back To The Light remastered reissue is available on August 6 on CD, Vinyl, Cassette, digital download and streaming formats and can be pre-ordered here.

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