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Why Brian May Felt Insecure About Queen’s ‘Hammer to Fall’

Brian May recently shared his struggle in overcoming insecurity while writing songs, highlighting Queen’s “Hammer to Fall” as an example.

The track, featured on Queen’s album The Works, became a Top 40 hit in the U.S. and a Top 20 hit in the U.K. after its release in 1984. The band even performed it during their legendary Live Aid set in 1985.

In an interview with Guitar World, May opened up about his initial doubts in the song’s potential and how his bandmates’ tepid reaction initially added to his uncertainty.

“With me, it always starts off with a burst of activity, belief, and inspiration,” May said. “I think, ‘Ah, this is gonna change the world.’ But then it’s usually followed by a period of complete insecurity, thinking, ‘Oh no, this is rubbish. This is never gonna work.… my band’s gonna hate it.’ And then working through it.”

The guitarist continued, “That was the case with ‘Hammer to Fall’ because I came up with this riff and thought, ‘This is great. I can do anything with this; this is just what I want to hear when I put my guitar on.’ But when I played it for the guys in the studio, their reaction was, ‘Yeah, okay.’ It wasn’t like, ‘We love it!’”

Despite finding the song easy to assemble, May admitted he had to put significant effort into refining it before presenting it as an almost-finished track to his bandmates. “Once I did that, they understood and said, ‘Oh, yeah. Okay, we like this. This is going to be great.’”

May reflected on the experience: “It takes a bit of belief to get from the first riff to the point where you’re happy with the result. I think many people experience that moment when they present their work to others and feel very insecure in the process.

“When I sing a song to someone, it’s always nerve-racking for me, no matter who it is. If they’ve never heard it before, I get all kinds of insecure. You just have to get over that.”

Watch Queen’s ‘Hammer to Fall’ Video

Source: Guitar World