40. The Verve, "Bitter Sweet Symphony"
The Verve's Richard Ashcroft was born to be a rock
star: 40 per cent lips, 40 per cent cheekbones, 20 per cent shades, until he
opened his mouth and became 100 per cent poetic pretensions. In the great
tradition of English bands, the Verve hated each other so much they broke up
every time they made an album. "Bitter Sweet Symphony" is Mad Richard
at his most shamanic, a six-minute rant where he warns, "I'm a million
different people from one day to the next," plus a video where he struts
down the street knocking everyone else aside. "Bitter Sweet Symphony"
sampled an orchestral remake of the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time,"
a song the Stones signed over to infamous ex-manager Allen Klein when they were
under his thumb. To nobody's surprise except the Verve's, Klein sued; they lost
the rights to their biggest hit. (That's why it's officially credited to Mick
Jagger and Keith Richards, even though it sounds nothing like the Stones'
version of a gospel standard they had no business claiming as an original in
the first place.) "Bitter Sweet Symphony" was the Verve's triumph,
making them international stars. Needless to say, they immediately broke up.