SOTD: Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve

Check out the hit song Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve on lead singer Richard Ashcroft’s birthday. Like the music video too.

The song was sued for plagiarism for using too much of the agreed sample. Here is the Andrew Oldham Orchestra version of The Last Time by Rolling Stones.

‘The Verve had negotiated a licence to use a sample from the Oldham recording, but it was successfully argued that the Verve had used “too much” of the sample.[14][15] Despite having original lyrics, the music of “Bitter Sweet Symphony” contains bongo drums sampled from the Oldham track, which led to a lawsuit with ABKCO Records, Allen Klein’s company that owns the rights to the Rolling Stones material of the 1960s. The matter was eventually settled, with copyright of the song reverting to Abkco. Songwriting credits were changed to Jagger/Richards/Ashcroft, with 100% of royalties going to the Rolling Stones.[16]

“We were told it was going to be a 50/50 split, and then they saw how well the record was doing,” says band member Simon Jones. “They rung up and said, ‘We want 100 percent or take it out of the shops, you don’t have much choice.'” [sic][17]

After losing the composer credits to the song, Richard Ashcroft commented, “This is the best song Jagger and Richards have written in 20 years”,[18] noting it was their biggest UK hit since “Brown Sugar”.[17]

On Ashcroft’s return to touring, the song traditionally ended the set list. Ashcroft also reworked the single for VH2 Live for the music channel VH1, stripping the song of its strings. Ashcroft is quoted as saying during the show: “Despite all the legal angles and the bullshit, strip down to the chords and the lyrics and the melody and you realise there is such a good song there.”[19]

In a Cash for Questions interview with Q magazine published in January 1999, Keith Richards was asked (by John Johnson of Enfield) if he thought it was harsh taking all The Verve’s royalties from “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” to which he replied, “I’m out of whack here, this is serious lawyer shit. If The Verve can write a better song, they can keep the money.”‘ From Wikipedia

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1 Comment
  1. FS 6 years ago

    have used this tune for years as ring tone… That time it was one of the best-est of the tunes.

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