Brian May gets in on the sea shanty action with a sizzling rock guitar cover of the viral TikTok smash

Brian May
(Image credit: Don Arnold/WireImage via Getty)

Recently, we wrote about Andre Antunes offering up a metal reimagining of the viral TikTok performance of The Wellerman – a popular 19th century sea shanty which, for reasons beyond our comprehension, has become one of the most popular videos of the year.

It seems that the hype train is showing no sign of running out of steam just yet, with legendary Queen guitarist Brian May the latest to offer up his own rock guitar rendition of the viral tune.

"Every now and then, something comes along that's great," opens May, before getting down to business.

Armed with a simple drum loop and "the Pinkest of all Pinks BMG Special", May lets a punchy powerchord play out before launching into The Wellerman melody in the lower register of the guitar, sliding up and down to match Evans' original vocals. Before long, he commutes up the neck to let whole-note bends wail, while also throwing in a number of pentatonic riffs to give the tune a Queen-style makeover.

The Pink BMG Special – May's "current fling" – was the electric guitar that Brian used for the I'm A Woman video, and will be auctioned off next month for women's health charities.

"God bless you all, and take care," says May as he rounds up the video. "And especially God bless Nathan Evans!"

In other Brian May news, the rock icon recently reacted to the news that he nabbed the top spot in Total Guitar's greatest rock guitarist of all time readers' poll.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.