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Richard Ashcroft’s sweet victory as Stones bow out graciously

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Richard Ashcroft received an outstanding contribution to British music accolade at the Ivor Novello awards last week, and took the opportunity to confirm that the rights to the Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony had been transferred back to him after a 22-year dispute with the Rolling Stones.

Famously, the soaring strings that propel the song are a sample of an orchestral version of the Stones’ The Last Time, and the Verve had been granted permission to use part of it in return for 50% of the track. However, the Stones’ late manager Allen Klein eventually sued, claiming a larger portion than agreed had been used, and royalties and joint songwriting credits were passed to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

“As of last month, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards signed over all their publishing for Bitter Sweet Symphony, which was a truly kind and magnanimous thing for them to do,” said Ashcroft, who had to relinquish credit for the melody and lyrics. “Of course there was a huge financial cost, but any songwriter will know that there is a huge emotional price greater than the money in having to surrender the composition of one of your own songs. Richard has endured that loss for many years,” a spokesperson for the Stones told Music Week. It is a good look for both parties: the Stones appear generous and gracious (though I can’t imagine the loss of these particular royalties will do much to dent their bank balances), and Ashcroft gets the satisfaction of a wrong being publicly righted, at last. But this looks like a rare moment of........

© The Guardian