The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, an international celebration, was held in 2002 to mark her fifty years as monarch. Countless countries across the Commonwealth and the UK participated in the festivities, including Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, and New Zealand. The Queen went to be with the locals, and she went with her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The media expected that there wouldn’t be traditional celebrations because her sister Princess Margaret and mother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother died just before the Jubilee, but the Royal Family kept the customs. One of these occasions was a performance by lead guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor of Queen, who had a novel and intriguing idea regarding that.
What Did Brian May Ask From The Royals?
On November 21, 1975, Queen released their fourth studio album, “A Night at the Opera.” With its expertly constructed sounds and lyrics, the album got overwhelmingly excellent reviews from music journalists and rock music enthusiasts worldwide. Both the Royal Family and their fans took notice of their rendition of “God Save the Queen,” which was featured on the album and was originally a national anthem.
The Party at the Palace, a concert featuring British pop/rock music, was held in Buckingham Palace Garden on June 3, 2002, in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Shows were performed by many legendary musicians, including Ricky Martin, Tony Bennett, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, and many more. Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor were requested to perform “God Save the Queen” as one of them.
The guitarist for the Queen expressed reservations about the original plan, which called for the band members to perform a run-through of Buckingham Palace rooms in the manner of the late musician Jimi Hendrix. May revealed to Umusic during one of his chats that he didn’t feel comfortable behaving like Hendrix, a unique gift that was impossible to imitate or replace. Instead of what they desired, the guitarist proposed that he play it on the roof.
Brian May also expressed his shock at their acceptance of his offer to book them for a performance. May made this decision, and as a result, his team had to work out some communication issues with the orchestra that was down there. Nevertheless, because of their efforts, Taylor and the guitarist were able to give a memorable concert to honor the Jubilee while May was on the roof.
Brian May explained the circumstance, saying:
“At first, they asked whether you would perform a rendition of “God Save the Queen” while going around the royal apartments of Buckingham Palace and in the Jimi Hendrix style. There are now a few issues with which I was uncomfortable. One of them is attempting to sound like Jimi Hendrix.
Then I had this thought; I remember waking up with it the next day, and I realized that where I needed to be was not in the chambers of Buckingham Palace, but on the roof. I must be on the roof. I need to be the lone piper who has been up there in the wind and rain for the last 50 years. The grizzled old campaigner is still in the game. So I called them and proposed it, and they said, ‘Yeah, good.’
That is the moment that I remember because I thought, ‘Oh God, I have to do it now!’ The enormity of what I’ve proposed hits me, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, can I do this?'”
You can check out the performance below.