Founded by a very young Richard Branson in the early 70s as a mail-order retailer, they branched out into their own productions with Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells and LPs by Gong, et al - a hippie smørgasbord of music. And then the Sex Pistols. Virgin helped define post-punk, post-hippie cool, signing XTC, Magazine, The Ruts, et al, and even had indie champs Cabaret Voltaire for a while; they started the Front Line series, an attempt to repackage Jamaican reggae for rock audiences.

But over the years they became just another giant purveyor of pop, and were bought by Thorn EMI in 1992.