Verve Single Tops Charts But Success Is Bittersweet

October 11, 1997 12:00 AM ET

The Verve gets backhanded on their way back. After a two-year recording hiatus, the band released their most popular single to date, only to have 100 percent of the royalties go to former Rolling Stones manager, Allen Klein.

Klein, who came on as the Stones' manager in 1968 and who owns the rights to much of the band's early catalogue, is raking in the profits from The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony," the first single off of Urban Hymns. Written by Verve lead singer Richard Ashcroft, the song takes arrangements from the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time," a track from 1965's Out of Our Heads.

"It's a drag," admitted Verve publicist Ambrosia Healy. "The Stones' manager gets everything except for $1,000 that went to Richard [Ashcroft] for writing the lyrics." Healy went on to say that the band is not going to let it break their stride, and that there are no other samples on the record that she knows of.

Urban Hymns debuted at No. 1 last week in the U.K., selling more than 250,000 units. U.S. fans' reaction to the first Verve album since 1995's A Northern Soul was more conservative, but still respectable, with 21,000 copies sold in the first week. The video for "Bitter Sweet Symphony" goes into high rotation on MTV starting Monday, Oct. 13.

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