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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

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This goes out to one special lady i cherish for all the things you do like be there to listen to me when i am feeling blue. For being patient with me and never putting anymore down than i already felt of a old life i shaken away leaving it behind me where it belongs.This playing in one of her all time favorite flicks with touchy story of a young man thinking he couldn't fall in love untill he meants the woman of his dreams changing his life before it was too late. So i thank you my dear Jen for
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Remember this spend it alllllllllll l love u papa!
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My papa said this to me, I missssssss u
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djean830
Awesome song!
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\_ o.O _/
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Remember me when I am gone ,they sing the truth!!!!!!! ! ! ! !
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I luv the verve , they speak my luv,so Misunderstoo d
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My daughter and I danced to this at her wedding. My choice.
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This would be the perfect background music in a really emotional part of a movie.
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my friend died listening to this - morgan xxx
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I love this song :)
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It's ok
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lycie07
1.say iphone5 times
2. Choose a color
3.post this on two other songs
4. Look under your pillow
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I love Cap'n Crunch, who doesnt love the Cap'n?
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Don't read this because it's 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 be injured ( you won't die ) in two days. Now you started reading this won't stop. Post this on at least five other stations / songs in the next 143 minutes. When you're done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary this actually works!
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Don' t read this because it actually works . You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life .However if you don't post this you will be injured ( but wont die) in two days now you started reading this so don't stop. Post this on at least five other songs in the next 143 min when your done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen with big letters this is scary because it actually works
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Whatta Band, Goss bless the British & Verve! Enjoying this beautiful springtime weather in New England.
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You will die tomorrow and see what you think
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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 dint post this you will be injured ( you won't die) in two days. Now you started reading this won't stop. Post this on at least five other stations/son g s in the next 143 minutes. When you're done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary this actually works!
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Bitter sweet symphony the Verve's best song
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Word song makes me feel happy and want to do something positive when they play it.What happened to these dudes anyway?does anyone know?
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Vhy yugygy church
Bhhjhhjhjsdh h f v j h f d h j h j f d
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We so deserve the Verve
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jrhull0216
I was looking for bittersweet symphony cause I heard it and didn't know what it was. So glad I found it
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love love love these guys!
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kerrinbowers
Love bittersweet symphony
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kerrinbowers
Lol it's the VERVE
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feels like a sweet n happy song. liked it from the start!!
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How can you go wrong, just a great song
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It simply wouldn't have been the 90's without this song!!! It has to be my favorite, by far!!! How many people actually remember the video for the song though? Classic!!!
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Stupid spammers
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I love this song so much that I love the verve too much now it came from the movie the great expectations
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The vid for bittersweet symphony was bad a** !
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Bittersweet Symphony. :)
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yeh, this is a great song....love it too
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Love this song!
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great lyrics to describe your soul: your moan.
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Great band - amazing album!
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Sweet.. Solid band all the way through.
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kathic999
Sucks that Keith Richards sued them for Bittersweet - what a jerk
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Great band!!! ♡
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The Verves' song Bittersweet Symphony is damn great.
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Pure
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Killer song
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My favorite song
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Bitter sweet symphony is my jam!!
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I'm 58 and grew up listening to 60s and 70s rock but I love this band there sound is awesome
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lasiter803
Awesome!
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I take you down the only road i have ever been down, been down.
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Love this song!!!!!
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