Queen guitarist Brian May will release his first new single as a solo artist in over two decades when a track titled, “New Horizons”, arrives on New Year’s Day. The famous classic rock musician teamed up with English lyricist Don Black for his first new entirely single recording since his Another World solo album arrived back in 1998. The most notable part of May’s announcement on Wednesday however, is that the guitarist plans to give “New Horizons” a world premiere directly from NASA Control Headquarters in Maryland to start 2019 on a good note, literally.

According to the announcement shared from May’s Facebook, the guitarist both recorded and completed mixing/mastering the single just this month, which should be good for launch for when it hits the universal airwaves beginning precisely at 12:02 a.m. EST on Tuesday, January 1st, 2019. The song is themed around one of May’s passions, space exploration, as he’s also a Doctor in Astrophysics. The genius musician wrote the song as a tribute to the 12-year journey of NASA’s New Horizons mission, which will achieve the most distant spacecraft flyby in history when it encounters Ultima Thule, a remote Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) located past the dwarf planet Pluto on the far edges of our solar system on January 1st. Talk about space rock.

The single will also include a pre-recorded message from late theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who will be heard congratulating the New Horizon team on their successful rendezvous with Pluto back a few years ago when the famous scientist was still alive. John Miceli plays drums on the recording, while Justin Shirley-Smith and Kris Fredriksson helped co-produce the song with May. Both Shirley-Smith and Fredriksson also worked with May on the soundtrack to the recent Queen biopic hit filmBohemian Rhapsody.

“This project has energised me in a new way.  For me it’s been an exciting challenge to bring two sides of my life together – Astronomy and Music,” May said in a statement to go with Wednesday’s announcement. “I was inspired by the idea that this is the furthest that the Hand of Man has ever reached – it will be by far the most distant object we have ever seen at close quarters, through the images which the spacecraft will beam back to Earth. To me, it epitomizes the human spirit’s unceasing desire to understand the Universe we inhabit.”

May has been teasing out brief clips of the song’s audio through his Instagram over the past week, which features both 80’s-sounding MIDI notation to contrast the bright and natural distortion of May’s guitar. Another audio-based clip is expected to be shared later this week.

May and his surviving Queen bandmates have returned to the mainstream headlines in recent weeks thanks to the global success of Bohemian Rhapsody. Last week it was even announced that one of the band’s most beloved singles for which the film is titled after has become the most streamed song of the 20th century.

Brian May