Monday, May 27, 2019

Rolling Stones return Bitter Sweet Symphony credits to Richard Ashcroft of The Verve

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones have returned songwriting credits to the 1997 hit, “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, to Richard Ashcroft of The Verve after more than two decades.

As Rolling Stone noted in a 2016 story, Ashcroft’s song sampled a five-note segment of an orchestral cover of the band’s 1965 classic, “The Last Time” – recorded by original Stones manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham – with the Stones’ permission in exchange for 50 percent of the royalties.

Former Stones manager Allen Klein later claimed The Verve voided the agreement by using a larger section than they agreed to use, and his company, ABKCO Records, filed and won a plagiarism suit on behalf of himself, Jagger and Richards to keep 100 per cent of the song’s earnings.

On May 23 – the same day Ashcroft was honored with an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music from the UK songwriters organization – the rocker announced that the song’s ownership had returned to him.

“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’,” said Ashcroft in a released statement via social media. “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.”

Ashcroft told the BBC that the dispute came to an end following negotiations with Klein's son, and the Stones' new manager Joyce Smyth.

“I never had a personal beef with the Stones,” added Ashcroft in a BBC interview. “They’ve always been the greatest rock & roll band in the world.”

“Bitter Sweet Symphony” reached No. 2 on the UK charts and No. 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 upon its 1997 release, going on to sell almost 2 million copies worldwide and earning a 1999 Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song – with songwriting credits listed as Ashcroft, Jagger and Richards.

The Verve originally disbanded in 1999, and reunited for two more stints before shutting things down for good in 2008.

The Rolling Stones will launch their rescheduled 2019 No Filter tour of North America in Chicago, IL on June 21.

See also:

VIDEO: Mick Jagger rehearses new Rolling Stones song ahead of No Filter tour
VIDEO: Mick Jagger works out following heart surgery
The Rolling Stones reschedule No Filter North American tour dates
The Rolling Stones detail expanded Rock And Roll Circus reissues
Search Rolling Stones at hennemusic