Brian May launched new book '40 years of Queen' in London last night (03.10.11).

The guitarist with the 'We Are the Champions' group joined fans and friends of the band to release the new book at the Groucho Club in London.

The venue was decorated with memorabilia from various stages of the band's career, including a tour suit worn by vocalist Freddie Mercury, handwritten lyrics by all the band members and Brian's signature guitar - the Red Special - which he used on almost all of Queen's recordings.

Introducing the new book and memorabilia on display, he joked: "This is a unique opportunity to see some priceless relics, including me. It's quite strange to see my guitar put on some sort of shelf like a museum piece. I feel a bit like that myself sometimes.

"I think it's a fabulous book. This is one of the few Queen publications and outputs that we didn't put our fingers all over. Roger and I are very controlling human beings and normally we give everybody a lot of grief, in this case we had great confidence in the team.

"This is more than a book it's a toy, something to play with and, hopefully, archive."

The '40 years of Queen' book contains high quality photos alongside text written by journalist and close friend of the band, Harry Doherty.

The launch continues last month's celebrations of then band on what would have been the 65th birthday of frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991 of complications related to AIDS.

The band will also be named BMI Icons at tonight's Broadcast Music Inc (BMI) awards, an annual event held by the company, who collect royalties in the US on behalf of artists.