Legendary British recording artist Brian May has delighted die-hard fans this week, with the unveiling of the re-released version of his classic hit Driven By You – the first single lifted from his remastered Back To The Light album, due August 6th 2021.
Consider by many to be one of rock’s most rousing and lasting anthems, Driven By You was originally written for a Ford car television commercial, before becoming an international solo hit for Brian when it first debuted as a single off his 1992 album Back To The Light.
Explaining the origins of song, the rock legend says: “There’s a kind of mystery about writing songs – you never know where they come from! All I know is, I was sitting around a swimming pool in Los Angeles with an ad producer. He’s sitting there sunning himself, I’m there with my future wife sunning myself by the pool, and we get talking. And he says, ‘Oh, you write songs don’t you?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I write songs.’ He said, ‘Well could you write a song for an advert? Have you ever done that?’ And I went, ‘No, I’ve never done it.’ He asked, ‘Would you like to?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I’d be very interested.’ He then asked me how I would feel about a slogan that goes, ‘Everything we do, we do for you…'”
“And as soon as he said that, I went off to the bathroom with my little tape recorder and sang some stuff into the tape recorder. I sang most of the verse and a bit of the chorus, which is the way it happens with me. Suddenly a light goes on and I could hear it in my head, I could hear the whole thing, ‘Driven By You’, and I wrote it for them, for the Ford Car Company, and completed it very quickly. I went into the studio when I got back, completed it quickly for them, and then they liked it.”
Listen to Driven By You below:
“In the dark we make a brighter light…”
To accompany the singles 2021 re-release, Brian is also sharing a scorching new 30th Anniversary video edit featuring footage of the Queen legend performing the track live for the first time at the 1991 Guitar Legends concert in Seville, Spain, and during his 1992 South America tour.
Backed by an-all star band that includes Cozy Powell on drums, Neil Murray on bass and Steve Vai on rhythm guitar, along with Rick Wakeman and Mike Moran on keyboards, and Maggie Ryder, Miriam Stockley and Chris Moran on backing vocals, the legendary line up deliver a knockout performance of the iconic song!
Brian May – Driven By You (Official Video)
Having revisited and reflected on his life throughout the whole re-recording of Driven By You, Brian May reveals how the song helped him to create a special understanding with his Queen bandmate Freddie Mercury during his final days, and how the formidable showman encouraged his dear friend to ‘find his wings’ in his solo career.
Talking of Freddie, May says: “I played it to Freddie and I said, ‘Freddie, you know if this becomes a Queen track, which it might do, obviously you should sing it.’ He listened and went, ‘You’ve done it very well darling, and I think you should sing it’. Now whether that’s because he really did think I sang it well or just because he didn’t want to sing anything, I don’t know. But he said, ‘It’s beautiful, it’s great, it’s very complete in its own way, you should do it.’ And he said something very profound at the time. He said, ‘You know we’re all thinking and wondering what’s going to happen to me, and you don’t have to feel embarrassed about it. You know you should be thinking about your solo career at this time and if this is the beginning of your solo career then it’s a very worthy beginning. This is probably the beginning of your finding your wings as you need to do.’ So Freddie was very far-sighted and very generous as always and sort of gave me permission to do this as a solo track, which I did.”
“I rewrote the words as a piece of relationship therapy, you know, ‘Everything I do is driven by you’ and put it out as a single and it was a hit. So it was a nice boost to me to feel I could do things on my own. I wasn’t just a piece of Queen. And that’s what I believe about the core of songs; sometimes you don’t know why you’re writing them. You don’t know where it’s coming from, but it can be channelled into a way which makes sense in various ways. And things are always about life for me; they’re always about relationships. Either my relationships or relationships with people around me. It’s about humans interacting. That to me is the most exciting thing in the world; the most important thing and the hardest thing to get right in your life. A lot of people can do great stuff. You know, fly aeroplanes, go to the Moon. Relationships… not so easy. So it’s about that as always.”