19 February 2021

Richard Ashcroft releases version of Lennon's "Bring On The Lucie (Freda Peeple)"


Richard Ashcroft today releases his version of the John Lennon song "Bring On The Lucie (Freda Peeple)." The original version of the song featured on Lennon’s 1973 album Mind Games

He recorded the song during sessions at Abbey Road Studios and Redtone Studios in East Palo Alto, California. It was produced by Steve Wyreman (who plays live with Ashcroft and featured on the 2018 album Natural Rebel) alongside Chris Potter (who co-produced every Ashcroft album from The Verve’s Urban Hymns to the 2016 solo record These People) and Ashcroft. It was mixed by Potter and Ashcroft. 

The track is accompanied by a video, which shows Ashcroft recording and performing the song at Abbey Road. 

The release follows the news that Ashcroft will headline two shows at the London Palladium on May 21st and 22nd. Both shows sold-out immediately. 

Richard Ashcroft is a two-time Ivor Novello winner (Songwriter of the Year in 1998 and Outstanding Contribution to British Music in 2019) who has released five Top 5 solo albums, including the #1 debut Alone With Everybody. He first came to attention with The Verve, with who he released one of the biggest albums of the era in the shape of Urban Hymns as well as a succession of anthems which remain staples of his live set today, including "The Drugs Don’t Work," "Bitter Sweet Symphony," "Lucky Man" and "Sonnet."
  • Source: Scottish Music Network

08 October 2020

Universal signs Richard Ashcroft to global music publishing admin deal

Richard Ashcroft, The Verve frontman and celebrated British singer-songwriter, has signed a global administration agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). 

The move sees Ashcroft bring his publishing back catalog to Universal, ending a relationship with Kobalt that dates back to 2006. 

It also comes a year after Ashcroft announced that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had relinquished their publishing rights to The Verve’s most popular hit, "Bittersweet Symphony," following a long-running dispute – leaving Ashcroft as the 100% credited writer of the song. 

Ashcroft’s songs have seen him receive two Ivor Novello Awards – Songwriter of the Year (1998) and Outstanding Contribution to British Music (2019) – as well as numerous Brit Awards, Q Awards and NME Awards with The Verve. 

Following The Verve’s 1993 album debut A Storm in Heaven, and 1995’s A Northern Soul, the release of Urban Hymns in 1997 launched them to international success. The album’s hits included "Bittersweet Symphony," "The Drugs Don’t Work" and "Lucky Man."

The Verve’s fourth album, Forth, reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart, and 23 on the US Billboard 200. 

In 2000, Ashcroft made his solo debut with Alone with Everybody, followed by Human Conditions (2001) and BPI certified-Platinum Keys to the World (2006). He has since released two more solo albums These People (2016) and Natural Rebel (2018). 

Upon announcing the new publishing deal, Mike McCormack, UMPG UK Managing Director, said: “It feels like only yesterday that we signed The Verve to Virgin Publishing back in the early '90s. They went on to become one of the most important bands of the era, and Richard blossomed into an incredible songwriter, composing many of the big hits on his own."

“It’s so good to be reunited with him and his wonderful catalog of songs all these years later. UMPG, both UK and globally, feel as excited as I do about representing and promoting Richard’s catalogue with the respect and care it deserves.” 

Said Ashcroft: “I’m really excited about working with Universal Music Publishing and making this a hugely successful partnership. Music is power."

  • Source: Music Business Worldwide, By Tim Ingham

03 September 2020

"Bitter Sweet Symphony" music video in 4K

The acclaimed 1997 music video for "Bitter Sweet Symphony," which was nominated for three MTV Video awards has been given a new lease of life with 4K video on YouTube.

Join Richard Ashcroft on this iconic walk through Hoxton, London, in high-res. Link below.


02 September 2020

Richard Ashcroft to release acoustic album of his greatest hits

Richard Ashcroft has revealed that he’s set to release an acoustic album comprised of some of his greatest hits.

The former Verve frontman, whose fifth solo album Natural Rebel arrived in 2018, was recently speaking to Radio X when George Godfrey quizzed him on what fans could expect from his next project.

“Yeah, at the moment I’m set to start on an acoustic set of some of the best tunes […] and stripping them back and laying them bare basically, so that will be my next thing. I’m excited about that,” Ashcroft replied.

“I’ll be recording, I’m carrying on, moving on. So that will be my next record and from there when that comes out, that mythical night in my mind will take place.”

It wasn’t confirmed whether the special record will include any material by The Verve or focus solely on his solo output.

Ashcroft had been due to perform at this summer’s Y Not Festival in Derbyshire, before the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ recently landed at Number 3 on the BBC’s biggest selling Britpop tracks of the ’90s list. The top two spots were bagged by Oasis, with Blur and Cornershop also featuring in the top 10.

Last year, Ashcroft won back the rights to the 1997 hit from The Rolling Stones. The song samples a snippet of Andrew Loog Oldham’s orchestral recording from the Mick Jagger and co’s ‘The Last Time.’

  • Source: NME

21 December 2019

Richard Ashcroft covers Christmas songs

  • "Santa Claus" by Gerry Roslie, first released by The Sonics in 1965
  • "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane

19 November 2019

06 October 2019

Why Noel Gallagher dedicated Cast No Shadow to Richard Ashcroft

The story behind the classic Oasis (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? track is a tale of bands, brotherhood and beefs.

It’s one of the most moving songs on the monster that was the second Oasis album, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?

“Here's a thought for every man, who tries to understand what is in his hands.”

"Cast No Shadow" - nestled harmlessly between the band’s first Number 1 single "Some Might Say" and the storming "She’s Electric" - is a gentle ballad that hinted at a more philosophical side to songwriter Noel Gallagher.

“Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say... As he faced the sun he cast no shadow.”

Noel freely admitted that "Cast No Shadow" was about Richard Ashcroft, frontman with Wigan’s own epic guitar collective The Verve. Oasis had supported the band (when they were known simply as Verve) as far back as December 1993.

Verve had released one album of shoegazing rock that summer called A Storm In Heaven, but by the time they followed it up, Oasis had issued their debut Definitely Maybe and changed the face of British music.

The Verve's second album, A Northern Soul was released in June 1995. It was produced by Owen Morris, who had worked on Definitely Maybe and featuring one Liam Gallagher providing handclaps on the minor hit "History." Despite some success with the album, it was felt by many that The Verve hadn’t achieved their potential - and Noel Gallagher was one such person.

Gallagher told Select magazine how he felt about Ashcroft: “He always seemed to me to not be very happy about what was going on around him, almost trying too hard. I always felt he was born in the wrong place, and he was always trying to say the right things, but they came out wrong.”

The Oasis man’s feelings about his old comrade found their way into the lyrics of "Cast No Shadow" on the then-new Oasis album, which appeared fourth months after A Northern Soul. However, some of the song could apply equally to Noel himself, as he told Q magazine in February 1996: “‘He was bound with the weight of all the words he tried to say’ - that's me. I'm not Morrissey. I'm not Bob Dylan. I'm not Brett Anderson. They are better lyricists than I'll ever be.”

Ashcroft later explained that he felt honoured to be part of the song, the album and the subsequent huge success that Oasis enjoyed, but later told The Guardian: “I can't work out if he means I'm a witch, vampire or just incredibly emaciated and thin cos, you know, I haven't really got enough body mass to cast a shadow?”

Things came good for Richard Ashcroft and The Verve with their third album, Urban Hymns, released a month after Oasis dropped their Be Here Now album in August 1997. Noel Gallagher was ecstatic about their success - both Urban Hymns and its single "The Drugs Don’t Work" made it to Number 1 in the UK charts and Noel claimed he was “the happiest man in the world”.

During a notoriously foul-mouthed interview on the Evening Session with Steve Lamacq on Radio 1 in October 1997, Noel said emphatically: “Richard is a genius. Nick McCabe is one of the best guitar players I’ve ever seen. Even when we supported them years and years and years ago, they were a great band then. Circumstances worked against them.”

He went on: “I don’t write songs about many people - I’ve written songs about him [Liam], I’ve written songs about me mam, I’ve written songs about my wife, I’ve written songs about Richard Ashcroft.

“That man is a genius and I tell you what, man, he ain’t doing it for himself, he’s doing it for me. He has got to be a better songwriter than me and in return, I’ve got to write better songs than him. That’s what it’s about.

“People are going to build up this thing about The Verve and Oasis, but we go back SO far, from Manchester and Wigan, that they will never be able to touch the bond and the friendship that we have.”

But rivalries and alliances come and go in the turbulent world of rock music. In January 2018, Noel Gallagher was asked about songwriting teams and had a few choice words to say about artists that used them.

Speaking on the Sodajerker podcast, Gallagher said: "I'm offended by singer-songwriters who when you scratch the surface don't do any f***ing songwriting. I’m offended by that. As far as I'm aware if you scratch the surface of any solo artist in Britain and they've all got a team of songwriters behind them apart from me, Paul Weller and Johnny Marr. I'm struggling to think of anybody else.”

He went on: “Richard Ashcroft, Our Kid, all the way to f***ing Ed Sheeran and the little fella from One Direction… they've all got an army of songwriters behind them. I think it’s good that as a solo artist, it’s coming from you.”

This comment drew a dry response from Ashcroft. Taking to Twitter, the former Verve frontman wrote: "I don’t write my own songs? You want to qualify that NG?”

So, it seems at least for now, Richard Ashcroft is on Team Liam...
  • Source: Radio X 

11 September 2019

What is The Verve's The Drugs Don't Work about?

We look back at one of Richard Ashcroft's most moving and poignant tracks.

The Verve's Urban Hymns stands out as one of the most important British albums of all time, with arguably almost every track achieving sonic perfection.

From it comes the emotive and string-filled ballad, "The Drugs Don't Work," which no doubt could be up there with some of the most memorable British singles ever. Remind yourself of its video above.

Written by frontman Richard Ashcroft in 1995 and released on 1 September 1997, the track itself has been known to reduce The Verve fans to tears - which perhaps isn't that surprising when thinking about its origins...

Speaking about the song in 1995 to Select magazine, Ashcroft is quoted as saying: "There's a new track I've just written [...] It goes 'the drugs don't work, they just make me worse, and I know I'll see your face again'. That's how I'm feeling at the moment. They make me worse, man. But I still take 'em. Out of boredom and frustration you turn to something else to escape."

Though then it was attributed to recreational drug use, the single has since been linked to both the passing of his father - who died from a blood clot when he was just 11 years old - and his wife Kate Radley's father, who died of cancer.

In fact, some sources even claim the song was written by his father-in-law's bedside- with the most compelling lyrics to support this claim being: "And I hope you're thinking of me/As you lay down on your side" as well as "Now the drugs don't work/They just make you worse/But I know I'll see your face again".

Revisiting the lyrics with this reading, it's impossible not to think of the heartache of losing a loved one.

Now the drugs don't work
They just make you worse
But I know I'll see your face again

However, that's not where the story ends. Released just one day after Princess Diana tragically died on 31 August 1997, it helped capture the spirit of the nation before Elton John went on to release his re-working of "Candle In The Wind" 13 days later.

Despite clearly not inspiring the song itself, the shocking death of Diana ahead of its release only made the nation connect with the track even more.

And the lasting power of the song isn't lost on Ashcroft till this day, either.

Speaking to Radio X's John Kennedy about their Urban Hymns album on the whole, he said: "I know from meeting people some of those songs have have played a big role in some of the serious times in their lives, whether they be joyous or they be sorrow, and that sort of thing as a songwriter [...] it's an honour and also a blessing".

For this reason, and many more, the poignant single gave Richard Ashcroft and his Verve bandmates their only chart-topping single, and a well deserved one at that.
  • Radio X

23 May 2019

Richard Ashcroft interviewed at The Ivor Novello Awards 2019

Richard Ashcroft interviewed on the red carpet at The Ivor Novello Awards at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London by Music-News.com editor Marco Gandolfi on the 23rd May 2019.