Soundtrack to my life

As part of my #ChallengeRichard quest, Carla Johnson ‏from Atlanta challenged me: “to create and share a playlist of 65 songs you consider to be the soundtrack to your life”.

This challenge got my attention straight away. Virgin’s roots are in the music industry. We launched the brand in 1970 to sell cut-price records, under the name Virgin Mail Order. The following year we took the concept to London’s Oxford Street, opening our first Virgin Records store.

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Not content with just selling music we started Virgin Records the music label in 1973, complete with our own recording studio, The Manor. Then, in 1976, Virgin’s music interests went global, as we launched Virgin Megastore, with stores still located across the world. Meanwhile, Virgin Records is still riding high in the charts today.

As you can see we have a rich history in music, and as a result I’m a huge music fan. 


Here’s my 65 song soundtrack:

1.    Cliff Richard – Summer Holiday (Very embarrassingly, this was the first record I bought)

2.    Etta James – At Last (This song reminds me of my childhood and growing up, and one of my grandchildren is called Etta)

3.    The Rolling Stones – Start Me Up (The Stones were one of the first bands I interviewed at Student magazine, and the band I was most delighted to sign for Virgin Records)

4.  The Beatles – All You Need Is Love (I love The Beatles, and I love this song)

5.  Bob Dylan – The Times Are A-Changin’ (We used to play this song a lot in the Student magazine office)

6.  The Singing Sheep – Baa Baa Black Sheep (This was novelty song was my auntie’s idea. She told me her sheep were singing, and we released the results on Virgin Records)

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7.   Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (This song was the launch pad for Virgin Records and is still the label’s greatest success story)

8.   Tangerine Dream – Ultima Thule (This band made the first record we sold in our first Virgin Records store)

9.    Sandy Denny – Like An Old Fashioned Waltz (Novices in the industry, we used my friend Sandy’s contract as a model for our Virgin Records contracts – a learning curve!)

10.  Gong – Radio Gnome Invisible (Gong was one of the first acts we signed to Virgin Records)

11.  Mike Oldfield – Ommadawn (This is my favourite of Mike’s records)

12.  Faust – The Faust Tapes (We embraced a daring marketing campaign for this special, releasing it for only 48 pence – it worked, and we sold hundreds of thousands of copies)

13.  John Lennon – Imagine (This song has my favourite lyrics of any song)

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14.  The Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen (The Sex Pistols helped transform the Virgin brand, and we had a lot of fun along the way)

15.  Sid Vicious – My Way (Sid was my friend, and this song has some very fitting lyrics)

16.  Lou Reed – Walk On The Wild Side (I met Lou when he recorded at The Manor and have always enjoyed a walk on the wild side myself)

17.  Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight (This was Phil’s first single after going solo, and at the time he was signed to Virgin Records  – Phil also filmed the music video for Sussudio at a pub I owned in London

18.  Frank Sinatra – Fly Me To The Moon (I remember waltzing on a table to this, and it has always got me looking up into space and dreaming)

19.  Dire Straits – Money For Nothing (The band that got away! We would have signed Dire Straits to Virgin Records if not for an incident involving marijuana...)

20.  Wings – Band on the Run (Paul and Linda McCartney recorded this song at The Manor)

21.  Frank Zappa – Bobby Brown (Frank was considering recording at The Manor, but changed his mind after I played a practical joke on him – brings back funny memories)

22.  Human League – Don't You Want Me (Another great Virgin Records band, and I really like this song)

23.  Ray Charles – Georgia On My Mind (This is a wonderful song, that I’ve loved since I was young)

24.  Madonna – Like A Virgin (An obvious choice!)

25.  Frank Sinatra – Come Fly With Me (A classic song from a wonderful singer, which has become an anthem for our airlines)

26.  Bob Marley – Redemption Song (I love this song, it’s poignant and so appropriate for the times in which we live)

27.  Boomtown Rats – I Don't Like Mondays (Bob Geldof is a good friend, and I love the drama of this song)

28.  Culture Club – Karma Chameleon (The band led the 80s new romantic movement while signed to Virgin Records. This song was a huge hit and reminds me of the times)

29.  Simple Minds – Don't You (Forget About Me) (The band was one of our first Virgin Records artists, and this song is another of my all-time favourites)

30.  The Specials – Nelson Mandela (This is a wonderful song, with a great message)

31.  The Spice Girls – Wannabe (This pop hit shone the spotlight on British music and did a lot for the industry)

32.  Iggy Pop – The Passenger (Like Virgin, Iggy has a rock 'n' roll spirit – we felt we aligned so much that we signed him to Virgin Records and featured his music in Virgin Atlantic’s ads)

33.  Peter Tosh – Legalize It (This song has become an anthem for ending the war against drugs, and I have fond memories of convincing Peter to sign with us in the Caribbean)

34.  Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman (Who isn’t a fan of a pretty women?! And we were fortunate to sign him to Virgin Records for his last album)

35.  The Who – My Generation (We were honoured to have The Who headline our very first US Virgin Festival)

36.  Willie Nelson – On The Road Again (I enjoyed dancing with Willie on stage at the Dallas Winspear Opera House, and crowdsurfing for the first time)

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37.  Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer (Peter is a close friend, and this is one of my favourite songs)

38.  U2 – One (I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Bono a number of times, and I love the message behind this song)

39.  Paulo Nutini – Last Request (This song reminds me of my wife, Joan. I once played it for her as a surprise)

40.  Janet Jackson – What Have You Done For Me Lately (This tune brings back memories of convincing Janet to sign with Virgin Records by taking her up on a very special hot air balloon flight)

41.  Peter Gabriel – Biko (We enjoyed a wonderful a capella rendition of this track in South Africa at the 46664 charity concert to honour Nelson Mandela and tackle AIDS.

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42.  Stereophonics – The Bartender and the Thief (Stereophonics were the first band we signed to V2 Records – what a great feeling!)

43.   Kevin Coyne - Marjory Razorblade (There is something supremely original about his music that transported me to another world)

44.  Blondie – Hanging On The Telephone (Debbie Harry is of the best frontwomen of all time, and as we found when she performed at Virgin Atlantic’s 30th birthday, she’s still going strong)

45.  Elvis Costello – (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding (I loved listening to Elvis perform a wonderful acoustic version of this song at a Virgin Unite event)

46.  Olivia Newton-John – Physical (This track is great for Virgin Active workouts)

47.  Elton John – Candle In The Wind (A beautiful tribute to Princess Diana by a great artist)

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48.  David Bowie – Starman (This song always gets me thinking about the excitement of space travel)

49.  Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You (A great talent who is sorely missed – I was at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the Grammys when she sadly passed away)

50.  Jackson Browne – If I Could Be Anywhere (This song is a stirring anthem for the oceans, and I've seen Jackson perform it beautifully at Ocean Elders events)

51.  Alabama Shakes – Hold On (I enjoyed meeting the band at FreeFest, and loved dancing to this song in the front row)

52.  Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling (This is often my entrance song at speaking engagements, and I’ve got to know the talented Will.I.Am over the years)

53.  Kacey Musgraves – Merry Go 'Round (Casey performed a superb set when Virgin America started flying to Dallas. This song was my favourite)

54.  Journey – Don't Stop Believin' (This power ballad, synonymous with Glee, reminds me of my friend Cory Monteith)

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55.  Jason Mraz  – I’m Yours (I love this song, it’s great to sing along with. Jason is one of my favourite current artists)

56.  Orange Juice – Rip It Up (This track is the perfect anthem for my style of doing business)

57.  Queen – I Want to Break Free (Roger Taylor is a close friend, and Virgin promoted Queen's first concert in Hyde park 40 years ago)

58.  UB40 – Red Red Wine (I love reggae and enjoy a glass with dinner. The band were also Virgin Records artists)

59.  Wigwam – Nuclear Nightclub (I had a memorable experience watching Wigwam play in Finland)

60.  Ed Sheeran – The A Team (Ed played at Holly and Freddie’s wedding. He is a lovely lad and a great talent)

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61.  ZZ Top – Gimme All Your Lovin’ (The band played at FreeFest, and I liked that they all had beards, with the exception of drummer Frank Beard)

62.  Stevie Wonder – Superstition (We had great fun dancing to this song, as sung by the cast of Motown the Musical on Virgin Atlantic's Detroit inaugural)

63.  Emeli Sandé – Read All About It (I was very proud when I heard Virgin Records artist Emeli sing this powerful song at the London Olympics)

64.  The Global Goals Campaign – Tell Everybody (I met and danced with the band at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park)

65.  Neil Young – Rockin’ In The Free World (This track brings back memories of a wow-moment at the Global Citizen Festival, dancing on stage with Pearl Jam)

That was such fun! What songs would make the soundtrack for your life?

That ticks off challenge number 12 of my #ChallengeRichard quest. Don’t forget to keep sending in your challenges.

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