I tripped over this great video of Brian May playing his solo in “It’s Late.” It’s really amazing how Edward Van Halen-esque it is, and it’s interesting that Brian didn’t pursue the right-hand hammer-on technique and didn’t see the possibilities in it that Ed did. From watching the vid, seems like Brian feels that way too.
In the vid below, Brian says: “I never pursued [it] very far but…Edward Van Halen’s pursued [it] a long way and made something completely different out of it. This was a little piece of fun for me at that time….”
Incidentally, ‘It’s Late’ was on News of the World which was recorded and released in 1977 (October). Van Halen I was recorded in 1977 and released in February 1978. Ed apparently knew Brian’s stuff note-for-note, but it seems there’s no way he could’ve picked up on this solo in time to smack everyone’s ears into hyperspace with the release of Van Halen I. Then again, Ed was said to be a fast learner who could play just about anything he heard (Allan Holdsworth excepted).
And once more for the record: Brian said he was inspired to mess around with tapping after seeing someone in a club who saw Billy Gibbons do it (full post here – bassist Billy Sheehan also was inspired by Gibbons).
(The first solo in this vid is ‘It’s Late’)