Fifty years ago this July, Neil Armstrong uttered the famous phrase, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he became the first man to walk on the moon. One of the people who remembers watching him do it is Queen guitarist — and astrophysicist — Brian May.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the event, which was televised across the globe, AARP The Magazine has collected celebrities’ recollections of that first moonwalk. May, 71, is one of the stars featured in the piece, and he says he still has vivid memories of the lunar landing, which took place a day after his 22st birthday.
May says he was with future Queen drummer Roger Taylor at Taylor’s mother’s house in Cornwall, England.
“That night, we watched this tiny little screen on the Taylors’ TV and were all clustered around,” Brian recalls. “What I remember the most was that my dad was wrong. He was a pretty talented electronics engineer during and after World War II, and three years before Apollo 11, he said, ‘Oh, we’ll never get to the moon in our lifetime. It’s technically too difficult.'”
May continues, “So to see this incredible event happening on television, something that Dad said was impossible — it somehow made it all the more inspiring.”
Brian notes that the year after the moon landing, he started studying for his Ph.D. in astrophysics at U.K.’s Imperial College. He notes, “Through everything that happened with Queen, my interest in ‘what’s out there’ never faded.”
Other notables featured in the AARP article include William Shatner, Henry Winkler, Ali MacGraw, Harry Hamlin and Captain “Sully” Sullenberger.
Queen begins a new North American tour with singer Adam Lambert on July 20, the 50th anniversary of Armstrong’s moonwalk, in Vancouver, Canada.
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