Richard Ashcroft Blasts Rolling Stones In A Fightback Over ‘Bittersweet Symphony’


Former Verve lead singer, Richard Ashcroft, has stated that he is fully committed to avail of the changed state of the music industry. His intentions? To reignite the legal issues surrounding the band’s 1997 track “Bitter Sweet Symphony,”

Ashcroft has also criticised the Rolling Stones for their complete lack of involvement in the affair. The hit single heavily features a sample of the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra’s instrumental rendition of the Rolling Stones’ track, “The Last Time”.

The owners of rights to the Stones’ catalogue is Allen Klein’s ABKCO organisation. They argued that the Verve had surpassed the usage agreement concerning the sample and therefore owned the majority of “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” Taking into account that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were also credited as songwriters, Ashcroonlynly made about $1,000 for his work. When the song went on to gain an Emmy nomination, it was entered as a Rolling Stones composition.

Now, in an interview with CoS via Ultimate Classic Rock, Ashcroft has vowed to get his money back,

“I’m coming for that money. Someone stole God knows how many million dollars off me in 1997, and they’ve still got it. … I don’t care where you come from, that’s a serious matter.”

Concerning Allen Klein Jr., who now runs ABKCO, Ashcroft commented,

“You know, when his dad was around people could intimidate people by being a gangster in the music industry. Unfortunately, anyone who takes over that business, we now live in a world where anyone can be a gangster. … Everyone’s a gangster. So, there’s no gangster fucking attitude anymore. There’s no fear with this shit, with, like, some big figure. … It makes me laugh when I hear about these big managers from the ‘70s and stuff. It’s like, ‘Get out of here. You wouldn’t last five minutes,’ these guys now.”

In a direct message to ABKCO the Verve frontman said,

“Wow, you’re bold. You are bold motherfuckers. You don’t even put the song on your website, you’re so damn ashamed of it. They’re just like a legacy from a guy who came from another era, who managed to somehow take away 50 per cent of one of the greatest songs of all time from its author, and get away with it for 20 years.”

Ashcroft said the Stones should have taken action against ABKCO themselves, saying the band were like the owners of “a super-fucking big Mack truck and they don’t even want to turn left and run over the bug.”

As to why Ashcroft was raising his voice about the issue now he remarked,

“Basically, something happened a few weeks ago, and I’m like, ‘Okay, I get it. I understand what’s necessary now,’ I realized, I filtered it down what happened back in ’97, filtered it down to its raw essence – a gangster stole 50 percent of something that’s worth at least $100 million already. So, you know, I’m never going to forget that.”


According to UCR, a song from his new solo album, Natural Rebel, “Money Money,”, was inspired by his “Bitter Sweet Symphony” experience. In his final word to the ABKCO executives. “Just harness that for yourselves,” “Get in your nice car that my song probably bought, and on the way back to see your ‘yoga guru.’ Just check out the end of that album and think about stealing $50 million off a guy, and that guy is still alive.”

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