Belfast Telegraph

Sir Richard Branson honoured with Hollywood Walk of Fame star

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Sir Richard Branson looked back on his career as one of the most successful music executives in the world as he was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The London-born billionaire businessman and Virgin Records co-founder signed acts including the Spice Girls, Janet Jackson and Culture Club while at the helm of the label.

On Tuesday, he was recognised with a Walk of Fame star in the category of recording and during the ceremony shared memories of his career, including how he helped Sir Elton John produce the amended version of Candle In The Wind following Diana, Princess of Wales’ death in 1997.

He said: “I was partly responsible for the biggest-selling single in history. I had been close to Princess Diana and when she died I decided to raise as much money as possible for her charities by putting out an album in her memory.

“I rang Elton John and asked if he and his writer, Bernie Taupin, could alter the lyrics of Candle In The Wind – he agreed.

“I then tried to get permission for him to play it at the service. Initially, the Royal Court were against it but with the help of Tony Blair and the archbishop, we persuaded them.

“And the rest, as they say, is history.”

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Sir Richard Branson has been honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Nigel French/PA)

Sir Richard told the audience how he signed seminal punk band the Sex Pistols and how their influential album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, led him to court to defend the record against obscenity charges.

Sir Richard, who was knighted in 2000 for services to entrepreneurship, then joked he was nervous when the Queen raised her sword due to the band’s alternative version of God Save The Queen.

He also revealed the time a furious husband knocked at his door looking for Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who he had accused of having an affair with his wife.

Only when Sir Richard, who co-founded Virgin Records in 1972, saw a naked Richards sprinting across the lawn with a woman did he let the man inside to search the property.

Lance Bass, from the US boyband NSYNC, introduced Sir Richard to the stage. Sir Richard revealed Spice Girl Mel B had also been due to talk but had been called to court as part of her ongoing custody battle with ex-husband Stephen Belafonte.

Bass recalled the time NSYNC – which launched the career of Justin Timberlake – were an unknown band and thanked Sir Richard – whose other projects include the airline Virgin Atlantic and the spaceflight company Virgin Galactic – for having faith in them.

He said: “As a space enthusiast, as a musician, entertainer, as an entrepreneur, I thank you so much for inspiring people like me, inspiring the world.

“You do incredible work and please never stop dreaming because you inspire so much.”

Sir Richard, an intrepid adventurer, had his star placed outside the Guinness World Records museum in Hollywood.

His star was number 2,647 on the Walk of Fame.

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