The Verve’s formation began in a cloakroom hangout in their Wigan sixth form college. When Ashcroft arrived at the school he was a “charismatic” presence, according to McCabe. “I think he always had it in mind he was going to be a pop star, which was a bit ridiculous but just by the power of his charisma he managed to avoid ridicule somehow.”
Richard has a fear of rats, which caused problems during the writing sessions for ‘A Storm In Heaven’ in a house in Wales, owned by a musician called Dr Phibes – the house was riddled with the furry little bastards. Richard lasted only a few days before fleeing; the rest of the band stayed and wrote for a month.
The ‘A Northern Soul’ sessions soon descended into paranoia and dislocation, however, as relations within the band broke down and producer Owen Morris was so wracked with frustration at the band that, following a particularly fraught recording of ‘History’, he smashed a window in the studio.
Credit: Guy Eppel/NME
The Verve’s third album ‘Urban Hymns’ is the 17th best selling album in UK history, shifting 10million copies. A lucrative result that no doubt made up for the nightmare of having to give all of their royalties for ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for using too much of an agreed sample from an orchestral version of The Stones’ ‘The Last Time’.
After The Verve’s 1998 European tour ended amid violence between Nick and Richard, the pair didn’t speak for many years. This led to confusion when rumours circulated that Nick was due to make a surprise appearance at the Camden Monarch with a band called Lylo – Nick knew nothing about this but the venue allegedly turned away Richard and his wife Kate Radley that night, fearing a fist fight.