Richard Ashcroft Regains Rights To The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony 


Former frontman with The Verve, Richard Ashcroft, has been granted the rights to The band’s chart-topping track, Bitter Sweet Symphony.

That’s after Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards both agreed to rescind their shares in the song. Ashcroft wrote the track back in 1997 and was the lead single lifted from The Verve’s third studio album Urban Hymns.


The instrumentation that was the main hook to the track was a sample of a symphonic rendition of The Rolling Stones’ The Last Time. That particular recording was captured in 1965 by the Andrew Oldham Orchestra.

According to Radio X, The Rolling Stones had at first agreed to license a five-note segment of the recording in exchange for 50% of the royalties accrued.

However, this was reportedly cancelled when The Verve were accused of using more of the song that they had originally agreed to. Allen Klein, the former Rolling Stones manager had lodged a lawsuit on behalf of himself and the two songwriters Jagger and Richards.

As a result,  the Verve had to forfeit all songwriting royalties for Bitter Sweet Symphony. Which meant Ashcroft lost the composer credit while The Stones were added instead.

All of the publishing rights went to ABKCO, the company owned by Allen Klein. After living with the loss of his song for more than two decades, Richard has now finally regained the rights to the track.

The singer’s management appealed to Rolling Stones members Mick and Keith directly. Now all future royalties made from the track will go to Richard. The Stones have also acknowledged that the song now belongs to Richard Ashcroft.

In a statement given after he received the Ivor Novello Award on Thursday (23 May) for his contributions to music, Richard said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce as of last month Mick Jagger and Keith Richards agreed to give me their share of the song Bitter Sweet Symphony.

“This remarkable and life-affirming turn of events was made possible by a kind and magnanimous gesture from Mick and Keith, who have also agreed that they are happy for the writing credit to exclude their names and all their royalties derived from the song they will now pass to me.

“I would like to thank the main players in this, my management Steve Kutner and John Kennedy, the Stones manager Joyce Smyth and Jody Klein (for actually taking the call) lastly a huge unreserved heartfelt thanks and respect to Mick and Keith. Music is power.”

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