|This tasty slab of vinyl can be YOURS|
His label's first release had been "Tubular Bells" by then-unknown 20-year-old multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield - itself a mega-smash hit that has remained a consistent seller for the label, enabling Branson to continue to be a risk taker, with varying degrees of massive success. The label signed the Pistols, after all, even after the band had split acrimoniously with EMI and A&M Records.
Would Never Mind The Bollocks have gone on to become the template for an entirely new musical genre that flies in the face of the establishment if released by any other label?
This writer's hunch is an emphatic "No!"
Nor would The Flying Lizards' minimalist cover of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" have gotten a serious listen, much less a serious offer to release the song commercially. The lo-fi savaging of Cochran's 1958 hit by multi-instrumentalist David Cunningham and singer Deborah Evans-Stickland for a mere 20 British pounds hadn't been a hit, but it had made money and that gave Virgin the requisite faith to bankroll a second single.
Boasting a deliciously clanky production that frames Evans-Stickland's disconnected monotone perfectly, their cover of Barrett Strong's "Money" is future pop at its minimalist best, proven by its meteoric UK chart climb (it peaked at #5), but also for managing an unlikely #50 showing in the U.S. - a feat most other UK new wave acts could only dream of at the time.
While the band would never reach such heights again, the song itself has only gained in popularity since its unlikely chart run. It has also appeared prominently in such movies as Adam Sandler's "Wedding Singer", "Empire Records", and "Charlie's Angels" to name just a few.
Not bad for a song that was reportedly cut in a meat fridge for £6.50.