Brian May said he only recently discovered that Van Halen covered the Queen song “Now I’m Here,” which he wrote in 1974.

The American band’s version was recorded at a high-school concert the year after its original release on the Queen album Sheer Heart Attack. Even though he got to know Eddie Van Halen later, May didn't know about Van Halen's cover until this year – though he believed it had always been the late guitarist’s favorite Queen song.

“Ed sort of embarrassed me by saying I was a huge influence on him,” May told Guitar World in a new interview. “And only recently I discovered a recording on the internet of Van Halen playing ‘Now I’m Here.’”

He noted that there's "a comment about Ed – that when he solos, he sounds like Eric Clapton. Well, maybe there is a Clapton influence on Ed. I know because he told me. But if you listen to what happens [on the “Now I’m Here” cover] when he goes into the solo section, it’s already Edward Van Halen, there’s no fucking doubt about it. That’s the place to hear how Edward was developing as a guitar player, and it’s already awesome.”

Listen to Van Halen's Cover of ‘Now I’m Here’

Asked if Van Halen had “learned something” from May when the pair worked together on their Star Fleet Project in 1983, he replied: “I don’t know. I think Edward liked the melodic side of what I did within Queen. I can remember having discussions about that. And he wasn’t a person to do lots of guitar harmonies like I do, but he liked the colorful side of our arrangements. I just don’t know whether that was an influence or not.“

Listen to Queen's 'Now I’m Here’

 

Eddie Van Halen Year by Year: Photos 1977-2017