Branson gets Walk of Fame star

LOS ANGELES • To put her on cloud nine, Mr Richard Branson took singer Janet Jackson for a hot-air balloon ride to entice her to sign with his record label Virgin.

He also told the crowd on Tuesday - at a ceremony to mark his Hollywood Walk of Fame star - about encountering Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards naked.

Mr Branson, 68, the maverick British businessman behind Virgin Group ventures into airlines, record stores and space travel, unveiled his star with the help of Lance Bass and Ben Harper - two of the many musicians he signed to his label.

He founded Virgin Records in 1972, choosing the name because he lacked business experience. It went on to sign some of the biggest names, including Spice Girls, Sex Pistols and Roy Orbison, before it was sold in 1992 to fund the Virgin Atlantic Airways venture.

He opened Virgin Megastores, selling music, games and DVDs worldwide, before most were closed about 10 years ago due to the rise of digital music.

"This man is such a dreamer and has inspired so many of us," said Bass, a member of former boyband 'NSync. "Please, never stop dreaming."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2018, with the headline 'Branson gets Walk of Fame star'. Print Edition | Subscribe