The Verve have famously been in a very public dispute for over 20 years regarding their most famous song, ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, which as most people are aware samples an orchestral cover of the Rolling Stones’ 1965 song ‘The Last Time’. All because the section sampled was written by arranger David Whitaker and didn’t even make it on to the Stones’ original song.
The band were given the go-ahead to sample the orchestral recording however; they did not get the publishing rights from the Stones, that was until now.
In the late ’90s, former Stones manage Allen Klein, whose company ABKCO Records owned the copyright to ‘The Last Time’ sued front-man Richard Ashcroft which ended up with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards receiving songwriting credit and 100% of the songwriting royalties from ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony.’
Now, according to a press release from Ashcroft’, Jagger and Richards have agreed to unconditionally give their songwriting credits and publishing rights for the track to Ashcroft.
A full statement from Ashcroft reads:
“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.”
Ashcroft also made the announcement on stage at the Ivor Novello Awards in London this afternoon where he took home the award for ‘Outstanding Contribution’, not a bad day at the office for the former Verve man.