‘These People’ – the former Verve frontman’s fourth solo LP – isn’t out until May 20, but we’re already excited about Ashcroft’s first album since 2010’s ‘United Nations Of Sound’, which tackles topics such as the war in Syria and the Arab Spring uprisings.
Richard Ashcroft has been part of the British musical landscape for almost a quarter of a century, and after six years of silence, it’s more than good to have him back. Here’s a quick timeline of his biggest moments. Welcome back, Dickie.
THE BIRTH OF ‘MAD RICHARD’, 1992
“I believe you can fly and I believe in astral travel,” Ashcroft told interviewers, without physically being able to prove it. Oddball reputation ensured.
OASIS’ ‘CAST NO SHADOW’, 1995
Noel Gallagher wrote this 1995 Oasis song about the Verve frontman. “He always seemed to me to not be very happy about what was going on around him, almost trying too hard,” Noel has said. “That’s why it goes, ‘He was bound with the weight of all the words he tried to say.’ I always felt he was born at the wrong place, and in the wrong place, and he was always trying to say the right things, but they came out wrong.”
‘BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY’, 1997
Long before Chris Moyles’s parody for Radio X, Ashcroft sauntered down the street with a wrecking ball intent in the ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ video, straight into rock’n’roll legend.
THE BRITS, 1998
Having refused to leave his table to collect any of the numerous NME Awards The Verve won in 1998, Ashcroft snubbed that year’s Brit Awards, where they were up for Best British Band, to play a homeless charity gig in Brixton instead.
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR, 1998
One awards ceremony Richard did decide to grace in 1998 was the Ivor Novello Awards, where he was named Songwriter of the Year.
ALONE WITH EVERYBODY, 2000
Ashcroft released his debut solo album, ‘Alone With Everybody’, in 2000, following the second split of the band in 1999. It went straight to the top of the UK album charts and NME gave it a 8/10 review, saying: “’Alone With Everybody’ remains a beacon of light. Ashcroft’s newly discovered stability has done nothing to blunt his powers of communication or reduce his belief in the apocalyptic potential of music.”
LIVE 8, 2005
“Here’s the best singer in the world,” said Chris Martin, introducing Ashcroft at Live 8 for their show-stealing version of ‘Bittersweet Symphony’. Ashcroft lived up to his billing.
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HUGE SOLO SHOW, 2006
Ashcroft headlined the Lancashire County Cricket Club in 2006, with support from Razorlight and The Feeling. He was also joined onstage by DJ Shadow for his UNKLE collaboration ‘Lonely Soul’.
After reforming in 2007, The Verve headlined the Sunday of Glastonbury Festival, putting on a show-stopping set. “”A shout out for Jay-Z for putting in a good performance but tonight is rock’n’roll,” said Ashcroft, referencing the rapper’s appearance at the festival. The Verve split for the third and final time a few months later.
LIAM GALLAGHER GETS ON SIDE, 2016
Liam was outspoken in his support for Ashcroft’s comeback single, ‘This Is How It Feels’. “Richard Ashcroft good to hear your voice again new tune sounding good LG x” tweeted the former Oasis frontman.