Soldier plays Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now on a Sterling by Music Man guitar atop London’s Admiralty House

Lance Corporal Rory Crummy brought the fretboard fireworks to the 2023 Beating Retreat pageant – literally.


Image: Forces News

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When you think ‘royal music’, your mind probably conjures an image of brass, woodwind and percussion instruments, and not an amped-up Sterling by Music Man electric guitar. But that’s exactly what one soldier played during a royal performance over the weekend.

Perhaps more impressively, the soldier – who delivered a fretboard-friendly rendition of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now for a 4,000-strong crowd including Princess Anne – did it from the roof of London’s Admiralty House, flanked closely by two fireworks.

The performance came as part as the finale for the annual Beating Retreat pageant, an annual tradition celebrating military music.

While we’re unsure exactly which guitar model the soldier – Lance Corporal Rory Crummy – was playing, it looks like it could be a Sterling by Music Man Richardson6 in Dark Scarlet Burst Satin.

You can watch the moment unfold below:

Rory Crummy is accompanied in Blue Red Blue – a band formed in 2020 to represent contemporary music in the British military – by Colour Sergeant Liam Compson on vocals and guitar, Sergeant Alan Lambert on guitar, Lance Sergeant Tiffany Ellen on vocals, Lance Sergeant Simon Pearce on drums, Lance Corporal Sophie Henderson-Sykes on vocals and Lance Corporal Rob Jakeman on vocals and guitar.

According to The Telegraph, membership of Blue Red Blue is a full-time job mostly focused on public engagement.

“There have been pop, rock and jazz bands in the Army since time immemorial but this is the first time it’s been on an official establishment footing which could be seen as a sign of the times,” says Christopher Joll, British military historian and author.

The Beating Retreat “has its origins in the early years of organised warfare when the beating of drums and the parading of Post Guards heralded the closing of camp gates and the lowering of flags at the end of the day.” Now, the event has other meanings, as it raises money for Armed Forces charities.

The solider is not the first guitar-donning individual to take to a royal roof, as back in 2002, Brian May and Roger Taylor were invited to perform at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, with the request to play God Save The Queen on the roof of Buckingham Palace.

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