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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: A Northern Soul (2016 Remastered / Deluxe)

Disc 1

1. A New Decade

2. This Is Music

3. On Your Own

4. So It Goes

5. A Northern Soul

6. Brainstorm Interlude

7. Drive You Home

8. History

9. No Knock On My Door

10. Life's An Ocean

11. Stormy Clouds

12. (Reprise)

Disc 2

1. Let The Damage Begin

2. You And Me

3. I See The Door

4. Little Gem

5. Dance On Your Bones

6. History (Radio Edit)

7. Back On My Feet Again

8. On Your Own (Acoustic)

9. Monkey Magic (Brainstorm Mix)

10. Grey Skies

11. Life's Not A Rehearsal

Disc 3

1. Brake Lights (Loco Studio Session)

2. Mover (Loco Studio Session)

3. Funky Jam (AKA The Rolling People) (Loco Studio Session)

4. Echo Bass (Loco Studio Session)

5. Muhammad Ali (Loco Studio Session)

6. Come On (Loco Studio Session)

7. King Riff (AKA This Is Music) (Loco Studio Session)

8. On Your Own (Radio 1 Session / 1995)

9. So It Goes (Radio 1 Session / 1995)

10. A New Decade (Radio 1 Mark Radcliffe Session / 1995)

11. This Is Music (Radio 1 Mark Radcliffe Session / 1995)

12. Life's An Ocean (Radio 1 Mark Radcliffe Session / 1995)

13. Come On (Radio 1 Mark Radcliffe Session / 1995)

x

Track List: King Riff (AKA This Is Music) (Loco Studio Session / 2016 Remastered)

1. King Riff (AKA This Is Music) (Loco Studio Session / 2016 Remastered)

x

Track List: South Pacific (Sawmills Session) (Single)

x

Track List: Deep Cuts - EP

1. Bitter Sweet Symphony (James Lavelle Remix)

2. So Sister

3. Echo Bass

4. Lucky Man (Happiness More Or Less)

x

Track List: Forth

1. Sit And Wonder

2. Love Is Noise

3. Rather Be

4. Judas

5. Numbness

6. I See Houses

7. Noise Epic

8. Valium Skies

9. Columbo

10. Appalachian Springs

x

Track List: This Is Music: The Singles 92-98

1. This Is Music

2. Slide Away

3. Lucky Man

4. History

5. She's A Superstar

6. On Your Own

7. Blue

8. Sonnet

9. All In The Mind

10. The Drugs Don't Work

11. Gravity Grave

12. Bitter Sweet Symphony

13. This Could Be My Moment

14. Monte Carlo

x

Track List: Urban Hymns

1. Bitter Sweet Symphony

2. Sonnet

3. The Rolling People

4. The Drugs Don't Work

5. Catching The Butterfly

6. Neon Wilderness

7. Space And Time

8. Weeping Willow

9. Lucky Man

10. One Day

11. This Time

12. Velvet Morning

13. Come On

x

Track List: A Northern Soul

1. A New Decade

2. This Is Music

3. On Your Own

4. So It Goes

5. A Northern Soul

6. Brainstorm Interlude

7. Drive You Home

8. History

9. No Knock On My Door

10. Life's An Ocean

11. Stormy Clouds

12. (Reprise)

x

Track List: No Come Down (B Sides & Outtakes)

1. No Come Down

2. Blue (USA Mix)

3. Make It Till Monday (Acoustic)

4. Butterfly (Acoustic)

5. Where The Geese Go

6. 6 O'Clock

7. One Way To Go

8. Gravity Grave (Live)

9. Twilight

x

Track List: A Storm In Heaven

1. Star Sail

2. Slide Away

3. Already There

4. Beautiful Mind

5. The Sun, The Sea

6. Virtual World

7. Make It Till Monday

8. Blue

9. Butterfly

10. See You In The Next One (Have A Good Time)

x

Track List: A Storm In Heaven (2016 Remastered / Deluxe)

Disc 1

1. Star Sail (2016 Remastered)

2. Slide Away (2016 Remastered)

3. Already There (2016 Remastered)

4. Beautiful Mind (2016 Remastered)

5. The Sun The Sea (2016 Remastered)

6. Virtual World (2016 Remastered)

7. Make It ‘Til Monday (2016 Remastered)

8. Blue (2016 Remastered)

9. Butterfly (2016 Remastered)

10. See You In The Next One (Have A Good Time) (2016 Remastered)

Disc 2

1. All In The Mind (2016 Remastered)

2. One Way To Go (2016 Remastered)

3. A Man Called Sun (2016 Remastered)

4. She's A Superstar (2016 Remastered)

5. Feel (2016 Remastered)

6. Gravity Grave (Extended Version / 2016 Remastered)

7. Endless Life (2016 Remastered)

8. A Man Called Sun (Live / 2016 Remastered)

9. Gravity Grave (Live / 2016 Remastered)

10. Twilight (2016 Remastered)

11. Where The Geese Go (2016 Remastered)

12. No Come Down (2016 Remastered)

13. Blue (USA Mix / 2016 Remastered)

14. 6 O'Clock (2016 Remastered)

Disc 3

1. Make It ‘Til Monday (Acoustic / 2016 Remastered)

2. Virtual World (Acoustic / 2016 Remastered)

3. Gravity Grave (Live At Glastonbury / 1993 / 2016 Remastered)

4. Butterfly (Acoustic / 2016 Remastered)

5. Slide Away (Radio 1 Session / 1992 / 2016 Remastered)

6. She's A Superstar (Radio 1 Session / 1992 / 2016 Remastered)

7. Already There (Radio 1 Session / 1992 / 2016 Remastered)

8. Brake Lights (Radio 1 Session / 1992 / 2016 Remastered)

9. Star Sail (Radio 1 Mark Radcliffe Session / 1993 / 2016 Remastered)

10. A Man Called Sun (Radio 1 Mark Radcliffe Session / 1993 / 2016 Remastered)

11. 6 O'Clock (Radio 1 Mark Radcliffe Session / 1993 / 2016 Remastered)

12. Gravity Grave (Radio 1 Mark Radcliffe Session / 1993 / Extended Version / 2016 Remastered)

13. Shoeshine Girl (Sawmills Session / Remastered 2016)

14. South Pacific (Sawmills Session / 2016 Remastered)

x

Track List: The Verve EP

1. Gravity Grave (Edit)

2. A Man Called Sun

3. She's A Superstar (Edit)

4. Endless Life

5. Feel

Comments

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battleship99
I LOVE this song. It's got emotional healing !
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤❤
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The chainsmokers
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one of my faves....roc k i n ' @ work.!
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This song rocks the beginning instruments is so awesome gets me pumped everytime
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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Been in love with this song for ever❤
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Just a m a z I n g ... bitter sweet this life ... have ya ever been down?
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I mean come on.....how can you not love these guys. ❤️❤️❤️
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At working jamming too. Sing along with me. One of my favorite songs to jam to. This is MY jam.
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At work jamming ��
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Nice
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This song never fails to evoke wonderful memories. One great Sunday drive with a loved one. Oh, what a great song.
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kdpflugrad
Trippy album cover
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battleship99
I'm a million different people from one end to the next
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hophead86
Don't read this u will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of ur life now that u started reading this u can't stop or u will have bad luck put this on 15 different songs in 143 when ur done press the space bar and ur crushes name will appear in big letters on the screen this is so freaky cause it actually works
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Report as inappropriate
Great song........ .
I LOVE IT!
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☆ ★ ♥ ☀ ❀ ⚽
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don't read this you will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life and tomorrow will be the greatest day of your life now you you started reading so don't stop this is so freaky but if you read this and ignore it you will have bad luck put this on 15 other song and your crushes name will appear in big letters this is so creepy
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Love this song!!!!!
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It so..soo bitterly sweet to me..the salt....stin g s . . b u r n s . . m y eyes as u..i..forgiv e and forgive. Soulmates forgiven to death ...
By our upending love ..and our inability to..notice how we had began..to forgive each ones unwillingnes s too ti wake from the school child's first and only..last one. Forgive me..for our love doesnt ...allow me to wake from the dream of how we were..all around us..the other jealous souls..hate our passions for u..and meee there.. We are..now..an d forevermore im fro
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This...song. . m a k e s me drown in the virtues of the love i once was able to claim as mine...as i gasp..in paradise burned to the ground by my blindness all around...the vail..of a life undone. .is again in my eyes..paradi s e . I WOULD BE SO GRATEFUL TO END IT ALL HERE IN..MY..OUR PARADISE
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Rip off my Butt... This song kicks it!
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Rhapheal cork screw pasta
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
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Emotions Eco
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Snorkel
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azucena179
Love this song!
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Awesome song
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Beginning of this song forever gives me chills...God I love it!!!!!!!
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lasiter803
Bitter Sweet
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Great song !!!reminds me of the year my beautiful daughter was gonna be born 98' was at VANDENBERG AFB doing construction ��
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battleship99
One of my most favourite songs that ever was made.
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It's nice and mellow love it
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The instrument is relaxing in a way
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Love the instruments on this song it's so good
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Listen to the movements, u really don't need lyrics but since we are here, look at the beauty of all mankind, never forget , look around and see !
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I can't change, nor do I wanna!! :)
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I love this song since I was in kindergarten 10 years ago.
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Still like it
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Bitter Sweet Symphony is The Verve's Best Song, but Richard Ashcroft is Genius and having a Brilliant Solo Career, which is Very-Well Deserved! Yay, Richard & thank you for his music!!
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Bitter sweet symphony
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suzette77sol e i l
I CAN'T CHANGE MY MOLD....
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I'm a million different people from one day to the next
Report as inappropriate
people keep comparing the verve to coldplay when it should be the other way around. the verve was around far before coldplay.
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lajenn2829
nvr get tired of this song, lv it!
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Watched 49, I need eye drops .
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I love it amazing song makes me feel great
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Yeah, very similar to Coldplay!
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