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Brian May admits he stole the riff from Bo Diddley's I'm A Man for his guest spot on WOMAN's I'm A Woman

Brian May and WOMAN
(Image credit: Yuval Hen)

Queen legend Brian May has teamed up with musical theatre veterans and We Will Rock You alumni Mazz Murray, Kerry Ellis, Gina Murray and Anna-Jane Casey – who together make up the supergroup WOMAN – for a cover of Peggy Lee's I'm A Woman, originally released in 1962.

The group's inspiration behind the new cover was to honor the memory of actress Rebekah Gibbs – perhaps best known as paramedic Nina Farr in TV soap Casualty – who was diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer in 2009. She sadly passed away in 2014.

“We are thinking particularly of our dear friend and fellow performer Rebekah, who we lost," says Murray, "but not before she brought about a change in the rules of diagnosis and specialist referrals through which she has saved so many lives." 

“This recording was conceived as a response to a calling to promote this great cause for women’s health,” echoes May. “But it evolved into a magnificently raunchy and defiant rock track in its own right. These four ladies all rock out sensationally, and it was pure joy to underpin their performances with my guitar.”

He goes on to confess, “I actually stole that down-and-dirty riff from [Bo Diddley's] I’m a Man so I would claim this arrangement kicks more ass than all previous! Woman Rocks!”

You might remember May recently unveiling his newly-finished Red Special electric guitar – in a color that he described as the “world's pinkest pink”. Well, now you can see the model in full HD glory.

“As far as I know, this is truly the first pinkest pink guitar,” he says. “It has a strange effect on the video cameras – coming out burning hot.”

“Sometimes things happen for a reason,” says Ellis. “This song has been waiting in the wings for the right moment to make some noise! The time is now! Cancer affects us all in some way and I am beaming with pride to have joined with an incredible team of talented friends to produce a powerful performance and message.

“We are strong, we are women, and we can make a difference!”

All proceeds from the recording will go to Target Ovarian Cancer and The Caron Keating Foundation.

I'm a Staff Writer at Guitar World. I've played guitar for 15+ years and have a degree in Music Technology (Mixing & Mastering). I suppose that makes me qualified to talk to you about this stuff? I'm into all genres of music, but first and foremost I love all things rock and metal.