Brian was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire in 1944 of a Welsh father and English mother. He joined a local church choir when he was 12 years old and started piano lessons at about the same time. The music of Cliff Richard and the Shadows inspired him to start learning the guitar. He joined a rock band called The Coasters as lead singer in 1961 and also joined an amateur theatre group called The Studio Theatre at around the same time.
First job was a library assistant for a year followed by three years as a student technician in a hospital pathological laboratory.