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Brian May Goes ‘Back To The Tree’ In First YouTube Episode Celebrating ‘Another World’ Reissue

In the first of a new YouTube series recalling the making of the album, the iconic guitarist revisits the album’s cover shoot in the Canary Islands.

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Brian May - Photo: Richard Gray/Copyright Duck Productions Ltd

Queen’s Brian May has gone ‘Back To The Tree’, returning to one of the landmark locations associated with his solo work for a new interview feature to celebrate the re-release of his second solo studio album Another World.

The series debuts on YouTube Tuesday April 12 and runs weekly through to mid-May. It’s been produced by Simon Lupton, creator of the recent 50-part archival series ‘Queen: The Greatest’.

In the ‘Back To The Tree’ video feature, May talks about revisiting the island of El Hierro, the second smallest of the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa. This was where the memorable front cover image for Another World was captured, depicting the famous, symbolic and historic tree, in El Sabinar, in La Dehesa. You can check the footage out in full below.

Brian recounts the story of his original 1998 trip to photograph the extraordinary tree and his subsequent emotional return to El Hierro in March 2022. “I call it ‘My tree,’” he says. “It’s actually El Hierro’s kind of national emblem, if you like.”

He recalls that his first sighting of the tree affected him deeply. “I first saw the tree in a newspaper article, in black and white, and I thought, ‘what an amazing thing.’ Because I was always…I’m always going through hard times, like emotionally, whatever. And this was a difficult time. And I thought, ‘If I don’t change, I’m going to kind of die in this situation,’ so I have to find ways through.

“This tree [was] living in very adverse circumstances. It’s trying to grow in a place where there’s constantly a driving wind off the oceans, salt water wind, and it’s still managing to survive. How’s it survived? By adapting. I thought, I want to visit that tree. So I found it in a travel magazine. There it was, [in] Sabinosa in El Hierro. On an impulse – I mean, you have to live life on impulses sometimes, don’t you? – I thought, ‘OK, we have to go there.’”

May says of the photo session: “We took stills of me and the tree, and I was trying to find ways of me doing what the tree did. I was trying these poses like to imitate the pose of the tree. And eventually we came up with this thing, which I think did almost by accident. It was just sort of bending over and adapting that way. So you see me next to the tree.”

However, the fact this all took place in the pre-Photoshop era forced a different approach. “You couldn’t fiddle anything, so it’s real, what you’re looking at, and unfortunately or fortunately, the tree is actually really big,” he reveals. “It’s almost twice the size of me. So to get the effect we wanted, we used perspective. [And] the tree is a great symbol for Another World for me.

Returning to visit the some 24 years on was also emotional. “Now there’s a rope around it and it says, ‘Please do not enter,’” the guitarist notes, “and I didn’t. It was so tempting to rush up to it and hug that tree and touch it and make contact with all those years ago. But I didn’t do it because I thought, ‘I have to set an example.’ I have to be the same as everyone else, and I shouldn’t be trespassing in there. I should respect that tree, not touch it, just enjoy being near it, and hopefully it’ll be there for another 300 years.”

First released in 198, Another World, the follow-to May’s 1992 solo debut Back To The Light, is being reissued alongside its original single “On My Way Up” as the second release in his Gold Series. The album contains Brian’s trademark, searing guitar alongside unforgettable melodies, some striking cover versions and, on the new 2CD and box set editions, a generous selection of previously unreleased remixes, rarities and live tracks.

Another World will be available in a newly-augmented and remastered edition from April 22.

Pre-order Another World.

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