Brian May to reissue 1992 debut solo album, Back to the Light

Brian May
(Image credit: Simon Ritter/Redferns)

Back to the Light, Brian May's debut solo album, is to be remastered and rereleased this year, complete with additional material, outtakes, and liner notes written by the Queen guitarist himself.

Recorded in 1992 in the aftermath of Freddie Mercury's death, Back to the Light presented May with the chance to find himself as a singer, something that he was always loathe to do, insisting that he was happiest with an electric guitar in his hands. But the sessions proved that he had enough range to express himself, and helped him cope with the grief of losing Freddie and everything that Queen had built.

There’s an enormous amount of grieving in my solo career, because, first of all, I’m grieving for Freddie. And then I was also grieving for Queen

Speaking to Guitar Player, May said that revisiting Back to the Light brought back strong feelings from a difficult time.

"I find myself getting very emotional listening to that stuff because I put my heart and soul into it at the time," he said. "Also, I sang on it. I never became the greatest singer in the world, but I did get good enough to express the emotions I was feeling at the time."

May was joined by Cozy Powell on drums, Queen bandmate John Deacon on bass, and Deep Purple's Don Airey on keys, with additional low-end provided by former Whitesnake bassist Neil Murray and Gary Tibbs of Roxy Music/Adam and the Ants fame, and a rotating cast of backing vocalists.

The idea for a reissue of May's solo catalog arrived during lockdown. May had originally planned on doing a box set collecting all of his solo works, but decided to tackle album on its own, digging around for unreleased material and ensuring that the recorded material sounded good enough for the 21st century.

Looking back, May said there were mixed emotions after he finished Back to the Light.

"It was heaven and hell, but mainly hell because I never felt I was good enough," he said. "But it was also heavenly because I had the chance to be out there and just be me and express myself. There’s an enormous amount of grieving in my solo career, because, first of all, I’m grieving for Freddie. And then I was also grieving for Queen."

Long out of print, Back to the Light has been remastered by Bob Ludwig, and is out August 6 on a variety of formats, including a picture disc bundle and Collector's Edition Box Set, plus vinyl, CD and – bonus retro points – cassette.

See Queen for more details.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.