News > Rock star May gets doctorate

Added on 19-Nov-2002

Brian May, the guitarist with rock group Queen, has been presented with an honorary doctorate from Hertfordshire University. The guitarist, who was an astronomy student in London before Queen became successful, was presented with the doctorate of science at the Hertford campus on Tuesday.

May, 55, had a grade of 2:1 when he left his Phd studies to join the band. His Phd was never completed.

I'm a much better musician than astronomer - I think the world got the right choice

Brian May

After receiving his award at a ceremony at the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Albans, May said: "I'm just very thrilled. Astronomy is very important to me.

" I still keep up with astronomy, but only as an amateur."

May was joined by his wife, former Eastenders star and singer Anita Dobson, and a crowd of 1,000 onlookers.

He admitted it had been a difficult decision for him to choose between rock and his studies.

Brian May played on the roof of Buckingham Palace this summer

"It was very difficult at the time and I disappointed my parents who wanted me to go along the academic route," he said.

"But I don't think I quite had the discipline to be an academic. I'm a much better musician than astronomer. I think the world got the right choice."


Dobson, who played Angie Watts in BBC One soap EastEnders, said the couple were touched by the award.

"It was really quite emotional. When the procession came in I got really quite teary," she said.

May, whose operatic guitar playing was a lynchpin of Queen's Music, has had a busy musical career since the death of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in 1991.

He has released his own albums, released songs with the remaining members of Queen and even played on the roof of Buckingham Palace at the Queen's Jubilee concert in the summer.

He also added guitar to two tracks on the latest album by the Foo Fighters, the band led by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl.


Submitted by: Richard Orchard

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