4 Songs You Didn’t Know Queen’s Brian May Wrote for Other Artists

Along with writing and co-writing many of Queen‘s greatest hits—”I Want It All,” “We Will Rock You,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” their Flash Gordon theme song “Flash,” “Hammer to Fall,” “Who Wants to Live Forever,” and “The Show Must Go On,” among many more—guitarist Brian May has also penned a handful of songs for other artists throughout his career.

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A man of many trades, May, who was knighted by King Charles III on March 14, 2023, is also an astrophysicist and an advocate for animal rights and has opposed badger culling and fox hunting through his animal welfare group, Save Me, which he established in 2010.

[RELATED: Brian May Knighted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace]

Throughout his countless collaborations with everyone from Foo Fighters, Black Sabbath, Ian Hunter, Motörhead, and Guns N’ Roses, along with a number of other artists, May’s music and lyrics have stretched far beyond Queen’s illustrious catalog.

Here are four songs May wrote for other artists.

1. “Let Me In (Your Heart Again),” Anita Dobson (1988)
Written and produced by Brian May

In 1984, Queen recorded “Let Me In (Your Heart Again),” for their 11th album, The Works. Eventually sliced from the final cut, the song would not be released for another 30 years on the band’s compilation Queen Forever in 2014. A few years after Queen originally recorded the song, May’s future wife, Anita Dobson, released a slightly different version of the song on her 1988 album, Talking of Love—also produced by May.

May, who also plays guitar on the track, first met the former EastEnders actress in 1986 and the two were married in 2000.

“What’s the song about?” said May in a 2022 interview. “It’s a song about lost love and maybe trying to find it again.”

But when you went away
You took my heart and soul away
With you and now I stand alone
And dream I’m in your heart again
Let me in let me in
Let me in your heart again

So many nights we meet
In my imagination
And everywhere I turn
You’re still my inspiration

2. “Slot Machine,” Steve Hackett (2000)
Written by Brian May and Steve Hackett

When guitarist Steve Hackett released his 15th album, Feedback 86, it was mostly comprised of a collection of songs he had originally written in 1986 and shelved for nearly 15 years. May, who plays guitar on two of the tracks, also co-wrote the orchestrated rocker “Slot Machine” with Hackett.

Bonnie Tyler and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band singer Chris Thompson also appear on Hackett’s album.

Every day a little harder
Look out boy, you’re on your own!
Every day a little softer
You don’t seem to be on your toes
It’s just a job, swing with the punches
Pick up your hands, sting like a bee

Prizefighters heading for home
Prizefighters everyone knows

3. “Warboys (A Prayer for Peace)” Paul Rodgers (2007)
Written by Brian May, Roger Taylor, Paul Rodgers

Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers first released “Warboys (A Prayer For Peace)” on his Live From Glasgow album in 2007. A year later, he recorded another version, “Warboys,” on his collaborative album with Queen, The Cosmos Rocks.

[RELATED: Brian May Defends Yungblud’s Cover of Queen Classic “We Are the Champions”]

Rodgers performed as the vocalist of Queen from 2004 through 2009, several years before Adam Lambert took over in 2011.

They were born
With the knowledge
Of the struggle to survive
They were raised learning
Only ways to stay alive
Their language
Is the language
Of the bullets and the gun
If you see them coming
Babe you’d better run

4. “I Can’t Be Your Friend (This Can’t Be Over),” Kerry Ellis (2010)
Written and produced by Brian May; co-written with Don Black

May produced actress and singer Kerry Ellis’ debut album, Anthems, which included some covers of songs featured in the musical Wicked, tracks pulled from Queen’s catalog, and two originals penned by the guitarist. For Anthems, May wrote the opening “Dangerland” and “I Can’t Be Your Friend (This Can’t Be Over).”

Ellis first met May in 2002, and she was later cast in the Queen musical We Will Rock You in 2010. The two later released a collaborative album together in 2013, Acoustic by Candlelight, followed by another, Golden Days, released in 2017.

There should have been some tears
There should have been some pain
You didn’t raise your voice
It didn’t even rained

And so a story ends
The way we didn’t planned
You live without me

Photo by Paul CHARBIT/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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