Brian May has released a trippy new video for his 1992 solo song “Back to the Light” where the Queen guitarist travels back in time to jam with his younger self and solo band from that time period. It’s part of the promotional campaign for the reissue of his debut solo album Back to the Light, which has a bonus disc of studio outtakes and live recordings from the time period.
The video begins with present-day May stepping up to a faded concert venue advertising a performance by the Brian May Band, which has been defunct since the Nineties. He walks in and initially sees an empty stage, but his 1993 self eventually appears performing “Back to the Light” with his solo band in front of a packed audience. May then steps onto the stage and steps 29 years back in time to play with his old self and band. At the end of the song, 2021 Brian May put his arm around 1992 Brian May.
“I feel kind of affectionate looking back,” May said in a statement. “Looking back at me 30 years ago, a young man with no idea of the incredible journey that was still to come.”
Back to the Light was May’s first project outside of Queen since the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991. It sold well in Europe, but peaked at Number 159 in America. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Brian May Band bass player Neil Murray said that it was a difficult time for the guitarist.
“I think some of it is Brian trying to get away from the enormous trauma of Freddie dying,” he said. “At that point, he had no interest in continuing with Queen. He was probably quite divorced from Roger [Taylor], whereas later on they realized, ‘We’re stronger together.’ Brian very much didn’t want to rely on another singer. Even if he had someone very strong as a backing vocalist, he wouldn’t condone the idea of anyone doing lead vocals but him.”
He didn’t release a second solo album until 1998’s Another World. “That was, I think, a big mistake,” said Murray. “It took him far too long to follow up the Back to the Light record, so people weren’t that interested when he went out with Another World in 1998. There wasn’t a hit single. There were too many covers on the album. Whatever momentum had been built up in 1992, ’93, it was gone by 1998.”
In 2005, May and Roger Taylor reformed Queen with Paul Rodgers on lead vocals. They found far more success in 2011 when Adam Lambert took over as the frontman. They were in the middle of a sold out world tour when the pandemic hit, but they plan on resuming it in May 2022.