17 July 2023

Richard Ashcroft recreates The Verve's “Bitter Sweet Symphony” video for Sky Sports F1 Promo

Richard Ashcroft has recreated the music video for The Verve’s "Bitter Sweet Symphony" for Sky Sports. 

The singer recreated the visual accompaniment to the 1997 hit for a Sky Sports promotion of Formula One, and filmed the clips a couple of days before last week’s British Grand Prix 2023 kicked off.

Instead of walking the streets of London as in the original video, Ashcroft is seen performing the track around the UK’s Silverstone Circuit, which hosted the first British Grand Prix in 1948. The footage also features retro footage from previous Grand Prixs, including footage of the audience.

Arriving over a quarter of a century ago, "Bitter Sweet Symphony" remains The Verve’s most popular song, and first appeared as part of their third studio album Urban Hymns

This isn’t the first time that the frontman has revisited the single in the time since its release. Back in 2021, the singer re-recorded the hit for his Acoustic Hymns Vol. 1 album. In a three-star review, NME said: “Opener ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ is a sprawling, symphonic masterpiece reworked acoustically to allow Ashcroft’s gravelly vocals to take centre stage over subtle piano keys and twanging guitar chords.”

That same year, Ashcroft also revealed that Netflix showed interest in making a docuseries documenting the infamous copyright dispute revolving around the song. 

The band were involved in a row with The Rolling Stones’ former manager Allen Klein over its sampling of the Stones’ "The Last Time". The dispute was resolved in 2019, with Ashcroft and The Verve no longer having to pay royalties to Klein’s company ABKCO. 

“I saw an absolutely terrible script Netflix were going to do about "Bitter Sweet Symphony". It was an insight into just how far from reality these shows can go,” he said at the time. “It was an absolute piece of garbage. It’s quite scary [that] someone wanted to make it and make people believe it was the reality. I hope it doesn’t happen."

Currently, Ashcroft is embarking on a series of live performances around the UK, with a slot at Sheffield’s Tramlines festival set for later this week, as well as a gig at Englefield House in Reading on Saturday (July 22).

  • Source: NME, by Liberty Dunworth