Queen guitarist Brian May has released his first solo single in 20 years with “New Horizons”, which premiered directly from NASA Control Headquarters in Maryland to start 2019 on a good note, literally. 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.

May’s dual life of being an iconic musician and astrophysicist inspired the release of “New Horizons”, and serves as a tribute to the ongoing NASA New Horizons mission—which achieved the most distant spacecraft flyby in history on New Year’s Day. Snippets of spoken-word audio from the late Stephen Hawking are sprinkled into the new song as well.

May shared some thoughts on his newest release, stating, “This project has energized me in a new way. For me it’s been an exciting challenge to bring two sides of my life together – Astronomy and Music.  It was Alan Stern, the Project Instigator of this amazing NASA Mission, who threw down the glove last May. He asked if I could come up with a theme for Ultima Thule which could be played as the NH probe reached this new destination.”

May continues, “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 space craft 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 brief clips of the song’s audio through his Instagram over the past few week, which features both 80’s-sounding MIDI notation to contrast the bright and natural distortion of May’s guitar.

Listen to Brian May’s first solo release in 20 years below:

Brian May – “New Horizons”

[Video: Queen Official]

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.