Brian May, guitarist for the rock band Queen, has donated money, time and items to various charities. Some are mildly controversial, such as his efforts on behalf of PETA. Others, like his many donations to groups seeking to cure various types of childhood cancers, enjoy widespread support.
It was for one of the cancer-prevention fundraiders that May donated one of his guitars, in 2004. He signed it to provide verification it had been his, and in the end the final bid brought in more than 1,000 British pounds from a businessman.
The new owner, Tim Walker, joyfully plugged the guitar into an amplifier after bringing it home. He played some Oasis tunes and relished the moment. (He admitted that he’d never been good enough to do Queen songs justice – one of the reasons he was such a huge Queen fan – but he could handle Oasis.)
The moment didn’t last, however. After looking down at his expensive acquisition, he discovered that his arm movement while playing had methodically wiped away most of May’s signature, leaving only the nickname “Bri”.
A follow-up call by the charity organizer exposed what the now-distraught purchaser had done. May arranged to have the guitar sent to him and re-signed it, and Queen received a bit more positive publicity and the deep appreciation of a lifelong fan.
Who has learned not to be incautious around expensive objects.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite Queen song?