Richard Branson has done some amazing things with his Virgin company over the years but he says that opening a Virgin record shop was one of the biggest and best things they have ever done. Richard opened his first Virgin record shop in 1976 and he says that, before his real music shop opened, other music shops were boring.
Branson was a guest on Stuart Maconie's Freakzone for BBC Radio 6 Music, when he said, "The alternative was to go to a very staid Woolworths or Menzies to buy your music, it was incredibly dull and this was the first time that people could come into a record shop. It would have pillows on the floor, there were bootlegs on the wall, there were people that actually knew about music, there to talk to you about music."
He added, "If you did smoke a joint sitting on the pillows you weren't going to be told to leave the store and it was a proper music shop. We had queues of people - our first record shop was above a shoe shop on Oxford Street and when it first opened there was a queue going around the corner about three or four hundred yards long and people loved it. There had been nothing like it before."
Richard Branson then opened his first Virgin Megastore in 1979 and they continued to expand over the next 20 years or so. However, as with most music shops, things went took a turn for the worse and all Virgin stores in the UK, US, Ireland, Australia and Japan were sold or closed.