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The Verve

Long acclaimed as one of the most innovative and spellbinding bands on the contemporary British pop scene, the Verve finally broke through to a mass international audience in 1997 with the instant classic "Bittersweet Symphony." By no stretch a study in overnight success, the group's rise was instead the culmination of a long, arduous journey that began at the dawn of the decade and went on to encompass a major breakup, multiple lawsuits, and an extensive diet of narcotics. Perfecting an oceanic sound that fused the exploratory vision of '60s-era psychedelia with the shimmering atmospherics of the shoegazer aesthetic, the Verve languished in relative obscurity while waiting for the rest of the music world to play catch-up, creating one of the most complex and rewarding bodies of work in modern rock & roll long before most listeners even learned of the group's existence -- only to again fall apart at the peak of their success.

Originally known simply as Verve, the group was formed in the small Northern English city of Wigan in 1989. Richard Ashcroft -- a swaggering, shamanic figure in the classic rock star mold -- led the band, whose original lineup also included guitarist Nick McCabe, bassist Simon Jones, and drummer Peter Salisbury. Sharing a collective fondness for the Beatles, Funkadelic, and Krautrock -- as well as a legendary appetite for psychedelics -- the quartet signed to the Hut label within months, debuting in March 1992 with the single "All in the Mind," the first in a series of indie chart-topping efforts featuring the eye-catching artwork of designer Brian Cannon. Subsequent efforts like "She's a Superstar" and "Gravity Grave" captured an original musical identity growing by leaps and bounds, distinguished chiefly by Ashcroft's elemental vocals and McCabe's echoing guitar leads.

While Verve's long, liquid jams found favor on the British indie charts, pop radio looked the other way. Their majestic debut LP, 1993's A Storm in Heaven, was a critical smash, but positive reviews from a variety of critics failed to translate into strong record sales. The following summer, Verve appeared on the second stage at Lollapalooza, a tour tempered by a string of disasters -- not only was Salisbury arrested for destroying a Kansas hotel room, but Ashcroft was also hospitalized after suffering from severe dehydration. Around that same time, the American jazz label also dubbed Verve slapped the band with a lawsuit, forcing the quartet to officially change its name to "the Verve." Sessions for the 1995 follow-up, A Northern Soul, proved to be the last straw -- admittedly recorded under the influence of a massive intake of Ecstasy, the album's harrowing intensity was met with disappointing sales and little media recognition, and just three months after its release, Ashcroft made his exit.

Although Ashcroft quickly reassembled the Verve a few weeks later, McCabe initially refused to return, and was replaced by guitarist/keyboardist Simon Tong. Finally, in early 1997, McCabe came back to the fold, and as a quintet they recorded Urban Hymns, their breakthrough LP. Heralded by the smash "Bittersweet Symphony" -- a single built around a looped sample of a symphonic recording of the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time" -- Urban Hymns launched the Verve among the U.K.'s most popular bands. Even at their peak, however, the curse of the band's past lingered on, as legal hassles awarded 100 percent of the song's publishing rights to ABKCO Music, which controlled the Stones' back catalog. The second single from the album, the haunting "The Drugs Don't Work," became the Verve's first U.K. number one smash, while the hit singles "Lucky Man" and "Sonnet" soon followed. However, when McCabe pulled out of the group's 1998 U.S. tour, the group suffered yet another blow. After months of rumors, the Verve officially split the following spring.

Ashcroft launched a solo career in the early 2000s and enjoyed success with a number of singles, including "Break the Night With Colour." Meanwhile, Nick McCabe remixed a track for the Music and collaborated with British songwriter John Martyn, while Tong and Jones formed a short-lived band named the Shining. Tong later joined the Good, the Bad & the Queen in July 2006, and although he continued to focus on his post-Verve projects, the remaining members of the Verve reunited in 2007 for an international tour. The band also set to work on another studio album, Forth, which was released in August 2008 following a successful year of sold-out concerts and festival dates. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Great band - amazing album!
Sweet.. Solid band all the way through.
Sucks that Keith Richards sued them for Bittersweet - what a jerk
Great band!!! ♡
The Verves' song Bittersweet Symphony is damn great.
Pure
Killer song
My favorite song
Bitter sweet symphony is my jam!!
I'm 58 and grew up listening to 60s and 70s rock but I love this band there sound is awesome
lasiter803
Awesome!
thebrunner5
Don't read this because it actually works you will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop this is so scary. Put this in 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters.
I take you down the only road i have ever been down, been down.
Love this song!!!!!
This is drop acid music
Grovie Song Sock It Too Me.
Life bitter sweet
Follow for a follow
Boy, it feels good to finally figure out source to an illness, now , it'll be time to medicate : )
One of my fave songs of all time.
This is a good song to wake up to
i still have this album! This Band was tight!!
Loooooveeee it this song=)))
...BITTERSWE E T SYMPHONY
Looove this song!!! Fell in love with it when I heard it for the 1st time(^.^)
Ok
Ok
That's the great thing about Pandora. We get to hear songs from the past that we long ago forgot. This is a nice tune.
The lyrics complete the groove. One of my favorites of all time.
damitab5
This song never gets old. Great One
Great song .
I love this song
Alyna Friday
I like their song bittersweet symphony that's my jam
I can change I can change I can change...... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Like
I haven't been able to find a stones version. Is there one? Great tune!
Cause it's the bittersweet symphony
I u want to message me my email is caleb.edavie s @ y a h o o o . c o m for those who go to bed early good night✨ for hose who go to bed late hello!
So third time I've listened to this song but never commented on it how's that! For something hey the verve is a really good artist + have any of u played minecraft ?✨
Right on!
This was the album that Kurt Cobain was listening to when he was found dead. This cd was in his cd player that was in the greenhouse where he was found. Cobaincase.c o m for more info
Kiss your left hand Post this on another song Your crush will kiss you tomorrow
Follow for follow (www.rodneyv a n c e t h e a r t i s t . c o m )
hottubbill
I'm 1 million different people
No No No
Hottubbill@ yahoo.com
That's it !!!!
jackyak71
Say iPhone 5
Post this on 5 stations
Look under your pillow
Love this song ��
This song takes me back to junior year of high school.
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of ur life. However, if u do not post this you will die in two days. Now u have started reading this, u can't stop! This is so scary! Post this at least on 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When u are done press the f6 button and ur lovers name will come up on the screen. This is scary because it actually works!
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