The Verve biggest song ever “Bittersweet Symphony” is bittersweet to the band and singer Richard Ashcroft after a lawsuit ending up awarding all songwriting credit and royalties to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
Here’s how it all broke down…
The Verve – Bittwesweet Symphony vs. The Rolling Stones – The Last Time
The Verve asked for permission to sample The Andrew Oldham Orchestra recording of The Rolling Stones song “The Last Time.” The Andrew Oldham Orchestra was a side project of Andrew Loog Oldham, who was the original manager and producer of The Rolling Stones. It was basically orchestra “elevator music version” of The Rolling Stones songs. Here is the song The Verve asked to sample…
Although, The Verve had obtained a license to use the sample and agreed on a 50/50 split, attorneys and managers of The Rolling Stones agued successfully that The Verve had used “too much” of the sample and asked for 100% songwriting credit and royalties or remove the song from record store shelves. Which left The Verve no choice but to agree with the judgement. Band member Simon Jones said,
“We were told it was going to be a 50/50 split, and then they saw how well the record was doing. They rung up and said, ‘We want 100 percent or take it out of the shops, you don’t have much choice.”
Even though Ashcroft wrote the lyrics to “Bittersweet Symphony” he had to relinquish all songwriting credits to Jagger/Richards. Here is The Rolling Stones version of “The Last Time.” Even Ashcroft’s original lyrics use the same melody as The Stones.
When playing it live Ashcroft has dedicated it to Jagger and Richards and claims he is happy to pay some of their bills.