Brian May and his silver Red Special channel COVID anxiety in new song Panic Attack 2021

Has anyone been busier during lockdown than Queen electric guitar legend Brian May?

Now the man responsible for the greatest guitar solo of all time is back with a new jam, Panic Attack 2021, a collaboration with singer Kerry Ellis.

The song, a reimagining of the 2017 Ellis/May track It's Gonna Be All Right (The Panic Attack Song) is billed as the “antidote to COVID anxiety.”

You can check out the video, created using the two artists’ personal iPhone footage, above.

Sharing how the new version came about, May said: “At the close of 2020 there was a feeling that perhaps saying goodbye to that year would bring relief from the pandemic and a new era of hope would now begin. Sadly, following a very muted and restricted celebration of Christmas, the New Year dawned with the realization that mankind’s struggle was probably going to get worse before it got better."

He continued, “Kerry and I realized that The Panic Attack song now potentially had a whole new meaning to literally millions of people around the world who felt a growing sense of panic. In the UK, there was definitely a feeling that we had all been cheated of our Happy New Year. So we wanted to mark the occasion in a completely real and transparent way.”

While May rewrote the lyrics to fit the panic-inducing times, one thing that remains the same in that the Queen guitarist delivers a characteristically stunning solo, this time on a BMG Red Special with a silver finish.

Said Ellis, “I am beyond excited to kick off this year with a song full of hope. Putting Panic Attack 2021 together during a lockdown has had its challenges, but that has also been the beauty of it.

“Music is so powerful and it’s amazing what you can still create with so many restrictions. I hope this song and video gives people as much hope and joy as it did for me and Brian making it. We have all had quite a tough year but remember: ‘it’s gonna be all right!’ ”

“We’ve all come through some dark times,” added May. “Now we want to give hope for brighter days to come.”

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.