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Mick Jagger and Keith Richards give up royalties for The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’


After 22 years, The Verve lead singer Richard Ashcroft is receiving royalties for "Bitter Sweet Symphony." (Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns)

The Rolling Stones have finally offered The Verve some financial satisfaction.

Richard Ashcroft, the lead singer of the popular 1990s British group, is receiving song royalties for penning the 1997 hit “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” The Stones’ late manager Allan Klein successfully sued for plagiarism soon after the song’s release, reported the BBC.

"As of (April), Mick Jagger and Keith Richards signed over all their publishing for ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony,’ said Ashcroft while receiving a lifetime achieve award at Thursday’s Ivor Novello Awards ceremony. “(It) was a truly kind and magnanimous thing for them to do.”

The Verve had used an orchestral cover of the Rolling Stones’ 1965 song “The Last Time” for “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” Although the band had received permission to use the sample, it was accused of sampling more than the license covered, and Ashcroft was ordered to relinquish 100% of his royalties to “Last Time” songwriters Jagger and Richards.

Ashcroft seemingly harbored no ill will toward the Stones despite 22 uncompensated years.

“I never had a personal beef with the Stones," said Ashcroft in an interview with the BBC. "They’ve always been the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world.”

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The song off the “Urban Hymns” album peaked at No. 2 on the British charts while hitting No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It received two Grammy Award nominations for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal but lost both.

“Bitter Sweet Symphony” remains the group’s lone Top 40 U.S. hit.