BBC 4 put on a documentary about the creation of the album Tubular Bells this weekend. It was one of the biggest hits of the seventies and one of the top sellers of all time.

What was interesting about the documentary was a number of coded and in some cases explicit jabs at Richard Branson who financed the recording.

Instead of a visionary, he was titled as a used car salesman who sold imported records illegally by one chap. Other pokes were directed towards Branson's lack of musical knowledge and his betrayal of the 70s sound by financing punk bands.

This is perhaps a bit odd given that many of the individuals featuring in the documentary were sitting in palatial recording studios or homes that might not have existed had Branson not hustled for a record that may have become a damp squib.

When Oldfield, in a panic, nearly pulled out of the launch concert, it was Branson who corralled him onto stage. It was presumably Branson who helped locate and negotiate the deal that made Tubular Bells the soundtrack to film the Exorcist and sent international sales skyrocketing.

Branson has recently had a second book published about him by Tom Bower, neither of which are fully complementary. Perhaps sour grapes are contagious?





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