Today Sir Brian May’s wife Lady Anita Dobson turns 74 today. The couple married in 2000 having first met in 1986, when the Queen guitarist was still wed to his first spouse Christine Mullen.
Yet falling in love with the actress led the rock legend to have complicated emotions.
After separating from the mother of his three children James, Louisa and Emily in 1988, he struggled with depression over his perceived failure as a husband and father.
To make matters harder, his dad Harold died and Freddie Mercury would lose his battle with AIDS in 1991.
During this difficult time, the star wrote a couple of songs inspired by his newfound love for Anita.
READ MORE: From an original EastEnder to Lady May – Anita Dobson on title
The first track was Too Much Love Will Kill You, which Brian wrote with songwriting pals Elizabeth Lamers and Frank Musker around 1986-7, when he first met Anita and was in a “tangled state of mind”.
Before the song became one of his tracks on his debut solo Back To The Light, the guitarist had recorded a bigger Queen version with Freddie in 1989 before he died. This one ended up on the band’s final album, 1995’s Made In Heaven.
The 75-year-old previously said of the recording session: “I loved working with Freddie to do that vocal. We were aware that the song was becoming something different, and it meant something different. We were all aware of it. We obviously knew Freddie’s days were probably limited barring a miracle. So the song started to feel like something different. And we didn’t shy away from making it very big, very Queen-like. And I like it.”
The Queen version of Too Much Love Will Kill You earned the guitarist an Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. Brian added: “But if you want to hear what the song originally had poured into it, with the blood, sweat and tears of my life, then that’s this version.”
As for the other Queen song he wrote inspired by his love for Anita, that was 1989’s I Want It All, which Freddie sadly never had the chance to perform live. Just recently the track’s music video starring the late singer cross over 100 million views on YouTube.