Queen founding member and guitarist Brian May joined We Will Rock You alums Mazz Murray, Kerry Ellis, Gina Murray, and Anna-Jane Casey (who, together, make up the supergroup WOMAN) for a blues-rock cover of “I’m a Woman.” All proceeds from the May-produced single, available this Friday, October 23, will benefit two leading UK women’s cancer charities.
The founders of WOMAN were inspired to record the Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller-penned song (made famous by Peggy Lee in 1963) following the death of fellow West End star Rebekah Gibbs. The British actress, who became a household name on the TV show Casualty, lost her battle to breast cancer in 2014.
“We are thinking particularly of our dear friend and fellow performer Rebekah, who we lost, but not before she brought about a change in the rules of diagnosis and specialist referrals through which she has saved so many lives,” said Murray in a statement.
“This recording was conceived as a response to a calling to promote this great cause for women’s health,” explained May. “But it evolved into a magnificently raunchy and defiant rock track in its own right.”
WOMAN and May first performed “I’m a Woman” at the Royal Albert Hall in 2009 for the “Pinktober Women of Rock Charity Concert.”
The Queen guitarist continued, “These four ladies all rock out sensationally, and it was pure joy to underpin their performances with my guitar. I actually stole that down-and-dirty riff from ‘I’m a Man’ so I would claim this arrangement kicks more a__ than all previous!! WOMAN Rocks!!!”
The socially-distanced shoot for “I’m A Woman” took place in an East London space, with each member of WOMAN getting their solo moment in the spotlight. May accompanied them on a custom-made “World Pinkest Pink Guitar.”
Released during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, all proceeds from “I’m A Woman” benefit two leading UK women’s cancer charities: Target Ovarian Cancer and The Caron Keating Foundation. The latter organization was established in memory of the beloved UK television personality and offers grants to a variety of cancer charities.
“Sometimes things happen for a reason,” declared Ellis. “This song has been waiting in the wings for the right moment to make some noise! The time is now!”
She continued, “Cancer affects us all in some way and I am beaming with pride to have joined with an incredible team of talented friends to produce a powerful performance and message. We are strong, we are women, and we can make a difference!”
“I’m a Woman” is available on October 23 and can be preordered here.