Richard Ashcroft says 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' legal battle is over

Annie Martin
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards gave Richard Ashcroft the rights to The Verve song Bitter Sweet Symphony. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards gave Richard Ashcroft the rights to The Verve song "Bitter Sweet Symphony." File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

May 24 (UPI) -- Richard Ashcroft says his legal battle over "Bitter Sweet Symphony" has come to a close.

The 47-year-old British singer celebrated in a press release Thursday after obtaining songwriter royalties and rights to the song, which his former band The Verve released in 1997.


Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were previously assigned rights to "Bitter Sweet Symphony" following a legal dispute in 1997. The song features an orchestral cover of the Rolling Stones song "The Last Time."

"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 in the release.

"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 confirmed.


"I would like to thank the main players in this, my management Steve Kutner and John Kenney, 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," the star added. "Music is power."

Ashcroft had signed away his rights and royalties to "Bitter Sweet Symphony" during a legal battle with Abkco, which published "The Last Time." He said in a statement to Variety he paid "a huge emotional price" in surrendering the song.

"Richard has endured that loss for many years," the statement reads. "A few months ago, his management decided to pursue a strategy ... They decided to appeal to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards directly to try regain the song for Richard to the extent it was within their power to do so."

"Mick and Keith immediately, unhesitatingly and unconditionally agreed to this request," the statement says. "Incredibly generously and as an indication of what great artists and men they are they have agreed that to the extent it is within their power they have given Richard his song back."

"Bitter Sweet Symphony" appears on The Verve's album Urban Hymns, which debuted in September 1997. Ashcroft released his fifth solo album, Natural Rebel, in October.


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