The Rolling Stones Relinquish Rights to The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony

— News — Editor

One of popular music’s most infamous royalty disputes was announced as having been resolved this week. The Rolling Stones, who it was famously and controversially ruled should receive 100% of the royalties generated from The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony, have handed publishing back to Richard Ashcroft, who will now also be credited as the song’s sole writer.

The dispute began back in 1997, when The Verve— having used a five note extract of strings from an orchestral cover of The Rolling Stones track The Last Time — were sued by Allen Klein of the Abkco company. The string sample was used as part of a larger string arrangement written for Bitter Sweet Symphony, yet The Verve still required clearance, so their management went to Andrew Loog Oldham, (one time Rolling Stones manager and mind behind the orchestral covers album that The Verve had sampled from,) for approval. This was granted, but management failed to go one step further and seek approval from the rights holders to the original Rolling Stones single. While the musical similarity between the original Stones single and the orchestral cover is recognisable, the two show audible differences as well as various different personnel being involved in the cover, which may’ve resulted in the oversight.

The hypocrisy of the original ruling becomes apparent when one assesses the similarity between The Rolling Stones’ The Last Time and The Staple Singers’ recording of This May Be The Last Time. The Last Time undeniably draws inspiration from The Staple Singers’ recording — something which Keith Richards has openly discussed — but the Stones were never required to pay royalties themselves.

The saga is well documented in the below Middle 8 video, created prior to the news of this rights change. The likelihood is that the initial ruling was out of The Rolling Stones’ hands, yet it serves as a poignant reminder about exercising caution with sampling and should be used to open a wider discussion about artistic inspiration. In a statement, Richard Ashcroft thanked Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, as well as his and the Stones’ management. Music Week have more on the story, here.

New Sounds and Visuals

Pressure Sounds release an expanded collection of Yabby You & King Tubby recordings today. Walls of Jerusalem features unreleased mixes and dubs, complete with false starts, murmurs and discussion that place the listener there in the studio, as well as classic cuts like Chant Down Babylon. Check out The Man who does the Work below.

Nigerian saxophonist and bandleader Femi Kuti contributes driving saxophone licks to the epic, 16-minute track Sikhulekile, one of three new songs on BCUC’s The Healing (Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness). Blending traditional percussion, gravel-voiced leads vocals and mellifluous chorus singing, wind instruments and electric bass, the track is an energetic and trance-inducing piece of contemporary African music.

The new video for Wesley Bright & The Honeytones’ You Don’t Want Me sees the band’s frontman battling away at his typewriter, honing the lyrics and song structure to this gorgeous piece of throwback soul music, while ruminating on the love interest that his lyrics suggest is illusive. The Akron-based band blend the time-honoured elements of electric organ, drums, bass, electric guitar and horns, crafting a wonderfully gritty and earnest recording as rich and characterful as those cut at Daptone HQ.

Üç Kız Bir Ana is the astonishing opening cut from the new Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek album Kar Yağar. A subdued and deeply emotive piece of Turkish psychedelic folk music, it benefits from the group’s outstanding musicianship and melody writing, with everything from the Bağlama lines to vocal tones and keyboard solo stirring the senses.

The blurry, sun-soaked visual for Goon’s new single Snoqualmie is the perfect accompaniment to the band’s laid back psych-folk, replete with acoustic instrumentation and perfectly mixed. The band will release Heaven is Hummingon Partisan Records in July. One for fans of Ty Segall, Bedouine and Israel Nash.

The ever inventive Dungen have released a track from the soundtrack to Mexican Summer and Pilgrim Surf + Supply’s new film, Self Discovery For Social Survival. A heady blend of elements, including acoustic piano, mellotron and electric bass, give the track a ‘60s psych feel, yet the production and breakbeat keep it routed firmly in the present. A lapping, enrapturing track!

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