Simon Draper and the Story of Virgin Records 

Source: Red Bull Music Academy Daily.

In its first phase of existence, Virgin put out some of the most uncompromisingly experimental music ever to loiter on the outskirts of the rock mainstream, including records by Can, Henry Cow, Gong, Tangerine Dream, Hatfield and the North, Ashra’s Manuel Göttsching, Steve Hillage, Lol Coxhill and Slapp Happy, to name a few. From 1973-1976, the label operated as kind of “audio Arts Council,” in the words of Al Clark, rock critic turned early Virgin press officer – a reference to the British institution that subsidizes minority-interest artists. In Virgin’s case, the funding resources came not from the government and taxpayers, but from the general public’s enthusiasm for Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, the label’s early, unexpected blockbuster hit.

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