The readers of Britain's Total Guitar magazine have voted Queen's Brian May the greatest guitarist of all time. May, who beat out the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page said, “I'm absolutely speechless. I'm blown away. I have to say it's completely unexpected. Obviously, I'm deeply touched that people feel that way about me. I'm not under any illusions that, technically, I'm even on the tree of great guitarists. I guess this tells me that what I've done has affected people, and that means a great deal to me. I will never claim to be a great guitarist in the sense of, you know, a virtuoso. I guess I just try to play from my heart and that's about.”
While chatting with the magazine, May spoke about his admiration for Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. The Queen co-founder said of Gilmour, “A beautiful player. I love him. I have enormous respect for him. I saw one of his first shows with Pink Floyd, which I'll never forget. He was doing crazy things with a bottleneck, which fitted right in with their kind of chaotic Performances at the time. He's always been a great favorite of mine. A beautiful player.”
He went on to remember: “And we did play together for Armenia at one point. I asked him to come in and play 'Smoke On The Water' for Armenian Relief. The 1989 Rock Aid Armenia recording featured members of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Yes, Rush, Deep Purple, Bad Company, and Queen.
May spoke about his relationship with Gilmour today: “I occasionally see him. We don't keep that well in touch, but I'm very well aware of what magnificent work he does.”
Brian May isn't alone in his love and admiration for David Gilmour's incredible guitar work. Close friend Pete Townshend talked about how revered the Floyd guitarist was: “Among players — particularly among British players — he's incredibly highly rated — adored, I'd say. And he has a way of, of, of putting incredible feeling into everything that he does. I suppose technically, he's very good. Uh, but that's not the important thing. The important thing is the way that he plays.”
We asked Brian May what he thinks Queen's legion of fans feel about his and Roger Taylor's efforts to keep the band's legacy alive: “They probably see some genuine effort on our part and some probably (laughs) some genuine inspiration. Whatever else you might say about Queen, we were just totally dedicated to our audience.”