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Recommended: Richard Ashcroft/Coldplay - Bitter Sweet Symphony (Live In London 2005)

Here's a 'Recommended:' with reeeaaaal "Taking You Into The Weekend...." vibes to it on this lovely Friday, taken from when Coldplay brought The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft up on stage to close out their Live 8 London set in 2005 with 'Bitter Sweet Symphony', which Chris Martin refers to as "the greatest song ever written". 

There WAS some controversy over who wrote it for a while though, and the entire 'credits dispute' section of this track's Wiki is pretty interesting....

The opening strings are sampled from the 1965 Andrew Oldham Orchestra recording of the Rolling Stones' song "The Last Time", arranged and written by David Whitaker. The Rolling Stones' song was itself strongly inspired by "This May Be the Last Time" from the Staple Singers. The Verve negotiated rights to use a six-note sample from the recording from the recording's copyright holder Decca Records; however, they did not obtain permission from former Rolling Stones manager Allen Klein, who owned the copyrights to the band's pre-1970 songs, including "The Last Time". Although "Bitter Sweet Symphony" had already been released, Klein refused to grant a license for the sample. This led to a lawsuit with ABKCO Records, Klein's holding company, which was settled out of court. The Verve relinquished all royalties to Klein, and the songwriting credits were changed to Jagger/Richards, with Ashcroft receiving $1,000 for completely relinquishing rights.

In a 1999 interview with Q, asked whether he believed the result was fair, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards said: "I'm out of whack here, this is serious lawyer shit. If the Verve can write a better song, they can keep the money." In 1999, Andrew Oldham sued for royalties after failing to receive the mechanical royalties he claimed he was owed. After receiving his royalties, Oldham joked that he bought "a pretty presentable watch strap" compared to the watch Jagger and Richards would get with the money. In an interview with Uncut, he said: "As for Richard Ashcroft, well, I don't know how an artist can be severely damaged by that experience. Songwriters have learned to call songs their children, and he thinks he wrote something. He didn't. I hope he's got over it. It takes a while."

In May 2019, Ashcroft received the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors. Ashcroft announced that the dispute was over following negotiations with Klein's son, Jody, and the Rolling Stones' manager Joyce Smith. Ashcroft thanked Jagger and Richards "for acknowledging me as the writer of a fucking masterpiece!" 

He added: "As of last month, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards signed over all their publishing for Bittersweet Symphony, which was a truly kind and magnanimous thing for them to do. I never had a personal beef with the Stones. They've always been the greatest rock and roll band in the world. It's been a fantastic development. It's life-affirming in a way."

I've been on a huge Verve kick this whole week (check out the entire Urban Hymns record if you never have, you won't regret it) and this is just an awesome performance that celebrated the legacy the track had already built up by that point. Much respect to Chris Martin and Coldplay for recognizing the rockstar that Ashcroft is.

Have a good weekend folks!