The Bonus Track: 40 years of Virgin Records, Norwegian take on Beyoncé, Rumor rewound and Cass McCombs' introduction to Sean

A sideways look at the world of music

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The Independent Online

Branson’s Relish

While the “40 years of Disruptions” title might be pushing things a bit (the company was sold to EMI in the 1990s), there is still much to love in a new exhibition celebrating the world of Virgin Records – not least a recreation of the original Virgin shop on London’s Oxford Street, described as “record retailing as hippie squat”. Richard Branson once said “disruptive innovation is not a tactic. It is a mindset”, and Bonus Track will forever be grateful to the label for its Front Line series of reggae classics.

Halo goodbye?

As any X Factor viewer will know, the world is not short of cover versions of Beyoncé’s “Halo”, but the one from Norway’s Ane Brun is still remarkable. It’s from a collection entitled Rarities (out next month) and it should – but won’t – stand as the final word on the subject. Click here to hear

Rumer’s always had it

Having established a reputation as a Burt Bacharach interpreter of some distinction, Rumer has decided to let people hear her as she sounded in 2002 when she was Sarah Joyce, the lead singer of La Honda. The album is out next month, but you can listen to “I See Stars” below.


Sean to be wild

Although as pleasant a display of country-tinged pop loveliness as you will hear, the recent Cass McCombs album Big Wheel and Others is to be thanked more for its “sound clips” which turned us on to the still-astonishing 1970 documentary Sean. Watch now: