Richard Branson

richard branson virgin records
Richard Branson: Serial entrepreneur, investor, founder of Virgin Group.

After setting up the first Virgin record shop in London, we scraped together some money and bought a rundown country house and converted the squash court into a recording studio called the Manor.

One day, an engineer from the Manor rang me and said he'd heard this incredible instrumental demo tape by a teenager called Mike Oldfield. He played every instrument himself. His expression came out in the music. He was an absolute genius.

I took the tape to record companies: Mercury said they'd release it if Mike added vocals, which he didn't want at all.

Eventually, we decided to set up our own record company. We sent Mike to live at the Manor for a week to record it properly -- and Tubular Bells became the first release on Virgin.

Virgin Records became the biggest independent record company in the world, signing acts like Janet Jackson, Genesis and Peter Gabriel.

What stuck with me from this moment was how incredible it was helping someone unknown to become the best in their field. You've got take risks if you are going to succeed. It kickstarted our ethos of supporting entrepreneurs.

Related: These lucky nine get to pitch to Richard Branson

First published June 18, 2015: 10:53 AM ET

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