"Brian May... Brian May, Folk Angel
Champion of Folk Musicians"
(caption from L.A. Times obituary)

You may have read the January 1994 issue of Acoustic Guitar Magazine which praised Brian May as, "one of acoustic music's true angels." You may have had the pleasure of meeting Brian and learning the truth of that appraisal firsthand. For those who never knew Brian, it's hard to put into words just what you missed; to paraphrase John Denver, "I know you are a poorer man if you never saw this angel fly."

In 1955, at age 5, Brian received a polio shot from an improperly manufactured vaccine. This resulted in Brian spending 16 months in an iron lung and the rest of his life as a quadraplegic with a respirator. Brian never really looked at his limitations, he just went on doing what he could.

He frequently sat in as a guest host for John Davis' Saturday morning program on KPFK. For the last few years of his life he produced and hosted his own weekly two-hour program, "Malibu Folk," which was syndicated to over 40 radio stations across the United States. Brian's guests on the program ranged from such well known artists as Peter Yarrow, Gordon Lightfoot and John Stewart to unknown but talented local musicians including The Losin' Brothers, and Dave Morrison and John Michael Kay.

When asked about his reason for doing the show, he said, "It takes me away from the pain and the worries. Plus, it gives the artists a voice." That giving spirt shown through every time I heard or saw Brian. Acoustic Guitar Magazine got it right; Brian May was, "one of acoustic music's true angels."

Folk musicians and folk music lovers everywhere lost a true friend when Brian died from complications of the polio and paralysis on July 5, 1995.


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