The Verve finally get the royalty rights to Bitter Sweet Symphony


Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have amicably ended a two decade long copyright dispute.

Catch The Feed 8:30pm Thursdays and 5pm Sundays on SBS VICELAND . Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Nearly 22 years after the Verve's 'Bittersweet Symphony' was released, the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have given Verve's frontman Richard Ashcroft the songwriter royalties and rights from the song.

Verve's 'Bittersweet Symphony' was a global hit in the 90s, recognised by its melancholic vocals and a distinctive string riff. But it was that same strings riff that meant writer and lead singer Richard Ashcroft was denied royalties for nearly 22 years.

Instead, money has been flowing to the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

The song, released in 1997, samples a segment of an orchestral version of the Jagger-Richards 1965 composition "The Last Time" from an album by erstwhile Stones manager and producer Andrew Loog Oldham.

The sample was not fully cleared, and after a legal tussle with Abkco, the song's publisher, Ashcroft signed away his rights and royalties to 'Bittersweet Symphony.'

After losing the composer credits to the song, Ashcroft famously commented: "This is the best song Jagger and Richards have written in 20 years."

But in a statement released on Thursday after Ashcroft received the PRS for Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music award at the Ivor Novello Awards, Ashcroft announced that he has regained his royalties from the song.

"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'," the statement reads.

"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.

Ashcroft told the BBC that the dispute came to an end following negotiations with Klein, son of Abkco founder Allen Klein, and Stones manager Joyce Smith.

"It's been a fantastic development," he said.

"It's life-affirming in a way."