‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ songwriting credits restored to Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft, two decades after Rolling Stones dispute
The famous song 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' written by The Verve's Richard Ashcroft is considered one of the finest songs of the Britpop era. Despite writing the song, the charismatic musician had to hand over 100 percent of the royalties from the song to The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, after their former manager Allen Klein sued The Verve frontman for copyright infringement.
'Bitter Sweet Symphony' famously sampled an orchestral cover of the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time,” and Klein sued.
According to a report in BBC, the Rolling Stones have voluntarily returned the songwriting credits of 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' to its rightful owner - Ashcroft. The songwriter, who received a lifetime achievement prize at Ivor Novella Awards, said, "As of last month, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards signed over all their publishing for Bittersweet Symphony, which was a truly kind and magnanimous thing for them to do."
He also confirmed that the Rolling Stones' artistes weren't involved in the lawsuit and that it was the doing of their former manager. He said, "I never had a personal beef with the Stones. They've always have been the greatest rock and roll band in the world."
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.
Music is power."
Recalling how the Rolling Stones had got 100 percent of the royalties in the first place, The Verve's bassist, Simon Jones said, "We were told it was going to be a 50/50 split. 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'."
Speaking further about the development, Ashcroft said that it was a result of negotiations between Klein's son and the current manager of Rolling Stones, Joyce Smith. He said, "It's been a fantastic development. It's life-affirming in a way."
A representative for The Rolling Stones confirmed the change in songwriting credits to NPR.