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(Credit: Chatham House)


The song Richard Branson wants to be played at his funeral


Richard Branson might be one of the wealthiest men in Britain, however, it all began with his love of music which was the foundation he used to build what is now an unfathomable fortune.

Branson’s business career began when he started a magazine in the 1960s called Student, which interviewed musical stars of the day. He began selling records and undercut high-street alternatives through the publication, which allowed him to accrue a dedicated customer base.

After that experience, Branson decided to open a store on Oxford Street and then, in 1972, founded Virgin Records. It famously became the home of notorious bands like The Sex Pistols, but, surprisingly, the business mogul has always been a fan of reggae.

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In 1979, Branson moved out to the Caribbean when he was only 29, and it’s been his home for the vast proportion of his life. Although he’s been criticised for living there for tax purposes, Branson has taken their culture to his heart.

After he moved to Necker Island, Branson began to take significant interest in the reggae scene and release music from artists such as Gregory Isaacs through his Virgin International arm.

For his funeral, Branson plans to pay tribute to the heritage of the Caribbean, and during a conversation with NME, he revealed he’d like Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ to be played.

He explained: “I live in the Caribbean [on Necker Island] and any Bob Marley song would be delightful. I’d have a Caribbean funeral with lots of good reggae bands. I’ve been living here since my 20s, when I found this lovely island. I bought it for just under £100,000 and we’ve been offered over £100m – but it’s priceless.”

This interview isn’t the only time Branson has discussed his love of reggae, and even following the untimely death of Marley, he’s continued to retain an interest in the genre until this day.

During a conversation with NBC about his music taste in 2012, Branson revealed: “I like a lot of the old music and some newer music, so bands like The Killers I love. I love reggae so I keep in touch with the newer reggae bands coming up from Jamaica and the Caribbean Islands.”

He added: “Since Bob Marley has died, there have been lots of younger bands. And like I said, a lot of older music. Peter Gabriel I still love. I’m not as in touch as when we were building a great record label, but I keep in touch.”

Although Branson was born in Britain, the Caribbean is now where his heart lies after spending over four decades on Necker Island, and it’s only fitting he has Bob Marley play him out when eventually it’s the businessman’s time to rest.

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