The Rolling Stones Return Song to Their Rightful Owner
The Rolling Stones have given the publishing rights of “Bitter Sweet Symphony” back to Richard Ashcroft, frontman of the ‘90s British band the Verve. In doing so, they bring an end to a battle that has lasted over 20 years.
“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 a statement. “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.”
“Bittersweet Symphony” was a worldwide hit in 1997, catapulting the Verve to stardom and earning the band regular rotation on MTV. The song sampled four seconds of music from Andrew Loog Oldham’s orchestral cover of the Stones’ song “The Last Time.” The Verve did not get complete permission to use the sample and legal pressure soon forced Ashcroft to sign over his rights. This meant that Ashcroft and the Verve didn’t earn a single penny from the song. The song has earned millions of dollars in royalties since it was released in 1997.