The Verve’s 1997 single sampled a four-second segment of Andrew Loog Oldham’s orchestral recording from the Stones’ ‘The Last Time’. Permission was gained for use of the recording, but permission for the use of the song was overlooked. The only deal Ashcroft could reach that allowed him to keep ‘Urban Hymns’, the album the song featured on, on shelves was to sign away all of his rights and royalties to the track.
In a statement released after receiving the PRS For Music Outstanding Contribution To British Music award at the Ivor Novello Awards earlier today (May 23), Ashcroft announced that he had now regained all rights and royalty shares 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’,” Ashcroft said. “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.”
He continued: “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.”
The news follows Ashcroft filing a lawsuit last year in the hopes of reclaiming some of the royalties from ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’. “Someone stole god knows how many million dollars off me in 1997, and they’ve still got it,” he said at the time. “In terms, in normal basic terms, I don’t care where you come from, that’s a serious matter.
Meanwhile, in December, Ashcroft opened up about why he’s remained silent over The Verve‘s split. The iconic band split in 1999, following the departure of guitarist Nick McCabe. They later reformed from 2007-2009, including a headline set at Glastonbury.