The Verve's iconic single 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' came to define an era - but famously the band earned very little from it.
An uncleared sample utilising a string loop from The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra's version of 'The Last Time', causing The Rolling Stones' legal team to leap in.
Ownership passed to Jagger & Richards, where it remained for 20 years until Richard Ashcroft won it back earlier in the year.
Switching up his management last year, new co-manager John Kennedy brokered the deal and spoke to Billboard about how it happened.
“Songwriters often talk about their songs as if they are their children and to have one of your children taken away from you has been brutal for Richard,” Kennedy said. “He has endured it, not always patiently or in silence, but it has been terrible for him.”
The initial suit against The Verve was led by The Rolling Stones controversial ex-manager Allan Klein, and the result was labelled by Kennedy as “one of the toughest deals in music history...”
Allan Klein passed away in 2009, with his company ABKCO now being run by Jody Klein, his son. Ashcroft's team - John Kennedy and co-manager Steve Kutner - reached out to the Rolling Stones' manager Joyce Smyth, who in turn sat down with Jody Klein to discuss the matter.
As a result, Jagger & Richards agreed to remove their name from the credits, and revert all rights to Richard Ashcroft.
“Steve and I nearly cried because we knew what this would mean: absolute affirmation that ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ was wholly Richard’s creative work,” said Kennedy. “Without (Smyth) this simply would not have happened.”
Richard Ashcroft confirmed the news onstage at the Ivor Novello Awards, commenting: “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...”
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