Brian May Premieres Revved Up ‘Driven By You,’ Featuring All-Star Band on Anniversary Video

Brian May releases anniversary video for 'Driven By You' - Photo by Richard Gray


Brian May said his first solo hit, “Driven By You,” and the TV ad for which it was created came via an unlikely source.

“Driven By You” known as one of May’s most inspiring anthems, was originally written for a car commercial and the solo track was a hit when it first debuted as a single off May’s 1992 Back To The Light album.

But the song was created oceans away from the open roads of the UK countryside that were depicted in the TV ad. Originally released in November 1991, “Driven By You” reached worldwide success and hit No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart.

Re-released to download ahead of the forthcoming remastered reissue of May’s Back To The Light album on August 6, the reissue of the track comes with a ripping new 30th anniversary video edit.

The performance was originally filmed when the Queen legend sang the track live for the first time at the 1991 Guitar Legends concert in Seville, Spain, and during a 1992 South America tour. The footage features May playing the song with Cozy Powell on drums, Neil Murray on bass and Steve Vai on rhythm guitar. Plus, check out Rick Wakeman and Mike Moran on keyboards, alongside Maggie Ryder, Miriam Stockley and Chris Moran on backing vocals.

How did the song actually come about?

“There’s a kind of mystery about writing songs,” May said. “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 I went, ‘Yeah, I could relate to that’ because I can feel that in my own mind about my own self,'” May said. “And it got modified later on. It became ‘Everything we do is driven by you’ because it was about cars and I liked that even more. 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,” May said. “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.”

In a touching recollection, May said he got bandmate Freddie Mercury’s blessing on the track.

“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,'” May recalled. “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,” May said. “But he said, ‘It’s beautiful, it’s great, it’s very complete in its own way, you should do it.’

Brian May – Back to the Light

“And he said something very profound at the time,” May said. “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,” May said. “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,” May said. “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.”

“Out of the Light,” the companion release available in the “Back To The Light” box set and on the 2CD and digital formats, features three alternative versions of “Driven By You” including the original Ford Ad Version and a Cozy (Powell) and Neil (Murray) ’93 version.

Brian May’s “Back To The Light” remastered reissue is available on August 6 on CD, Vinyl, Cassette, digital download and streaming formats and can be pre-ordered here.

Listen to “Driven By You” here.

See the video for ‘Driven By You’ here: