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The Verve

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Long acclaimed as one of the most innovative and spellbinding bands on the contemporary British pop scene, the Verve finally broke through to a mass international audience in 1997 with the instant classic "Bittersweet Symphony." By no stretch a study in overnight success, the group's rise was instead the culmination of a long, arduous journey that began at the dawn of the decade and went on to encompass a major breakup, multiple lawsuits, and an extensive diet of narcotics. Perfecting an oceanic sound that fused the exploratory vision of '60s-era psychedelia with the shimmering atmospherics of the shoegazer aesthetic, the Verve languished in relative obscurity while waiting for the rest of the music world to play catch-up, creating one of the most complex and rewarding bodies of work in modern rock & roll long before most listeners even learned of the group's existence -- only to again fall apart at the peak of their success. Originally known simply as Verve, the group was formed in the small Northern English city of Wigan in 1989. Richard Ashcroft -- a swaggering, shamanic figure in the classic rock star mold -- led the band, whose original lineup also included guitarist Nick McCabe, bassist Simon Jones, and drummer Peter Salisbury. Sharing a collective fondness for the Beatles, Funkadelic, and Krautrock -- as well as a legendary appetite for psychedelics -- the quartet signed to the Hut label within months, debuting in March 1992 with the single "All in the Mind," the first in a series of indie chart-topping efforts featuring the eye-catching artwork of designer Brian Cannon. Subsequent efforts like "She's a Superstar" and "Gravity Grave" captured an original musical identity growing by leaps and bounds, distinguished chiefly by Ashcroft's elemental vocals and McCabe's echoing guitar leads. While Verve's long, liquid jams found favor on the British indie charts, pop radio looked the other way. Their majestic debut LP, 1993's A Storm in Heaven, was a critical smash, but positive reviews from a variety of critics failed to translate into strong record sales. The following summer, Verve appeared on the second stage at Lollapalooza, a tour tempered by a string of disasters -- not only was Salisbury arrested for destroying a Kansas hotel room, but Ashcroft was also hospitalized after suffering from severe dehydration. Around that same time, the American jazz label also dubbed Verve slapped the band with a lawsuit, forcing the quartet to officially change its name to "the Verve." Sessions for the 1995 follow-up, A Northern Soul, proved to be the last straw -- admittedly recorded under the influence of a massive intake of Ecstasy, the album's harrowing intensity was met with disappointing sales and little media recognition, and just three months after its release, Ashcroft made his exit. Although Ashcroft quickly reassembled the Verve a few weeks later, McCabe initially refused to return, and was replaced by guitarist/keyboardist Simon Tong. Finally, in early 1997, McCabe came back to the fold, and as a quintet they recorded Urban Hymns, their breakthrough LP. Heralded by the smash "Bittersweet Symphony" -- a single built around a looped sample of a symphonic recording of the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time" -- Urban Hymns launched the Verve among the U.K.'s most popular bands. Even at their peak, however, the curse of the band's past lingered on, as legal hassles awarded 100 percent of the song's publishing rights to ABKCO Music, which controlled the Stones' back catalog. The second single from the album, the haunting "The Drugs Don't Work," became the Verve's first U.K. number one smash, while the hit singles "Lucky Man" and "Sonnet" soon followed. However, when McCabe pulled out of the group's 1998 U.S. tour, the group suffered yet another blow. After months of rumors, the Verve officially split the following spring. Ashcroft launched a solo career in the early 2000s and enjoyed success with a number of singles, including "Break the Night With Colour." Meanwhile, Nick McCabe remixed a track for the Music and collaborated with British songwriter John Martyn, while Tong and Jones formed a short-lived band named the Shining. Tong later joined the Good, the Bad & the Queen in July 2006, and although he continued to focus on his post-Verve projects, the remaining members of the Verve reunited in 2007 for an international tour. The band also set to work on another studio album, Forth, which was released in August 2008 following a successful year of sold-out concerts and festival dates. ~ Jason Ankeny
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Stations Featuring
The Verve

    1-Hit Wonders

    1-Hit Wonders
    1 song

    Relax Trax

    Relax Trax
    4 songs

    '90s Alternative

    '90s Alternative
    3 songs

    Late Night Mix

    Late Night Mix
    2 songs

    Adult Alternative

    2 songs

    Adult Rock

    2 songs

    Coffeehouse Corner

    1 song

    '90s Pop

    1 song

    Top Alternative

    1 song

    Alternative Mix

    1 song

    Pop Rock

    1 song

    Alternative Party

    1 song

    Shuffle Hits

    1 song

Albums by
The Verve

Top Songs by
The Verve

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Bitter Sweet Symphony
  3.   Lucky Man
  4.   The Drugs Don't Work
  5.   Sonnet
  6.   Love Is Noise
  7.   Valium Skies
  8.   This Is Music
  9.   Velvet Morning
  10.   Catching the Butterfly
  11.   This Time
  12.   History
  13.   On Your Own
  14.   Rather Be
  15.   Weeping Willow
  16.   Numbness
  17.   Sit and Wonder
  18.   She's a Superstar
  19.   Gravity Grave
  20.   Blue
  21.   Muhammad Ali
  22.   Brake Lights
  23.   I See Houses
  24.   Judas
  25.   Make It 'Til Monday
  26.   This Could Be My Moment
  27.   The Longest Day
  28.   (Bitter Sweet Symphony) MSG
  29.   Three Steps
  30.   Dance on Your Bones
  31.   Little Gem
  32.   Stamped
  33.   Twilight
  34.   6 O'Clock
  35.   No Come Down
  36.   Feel
  37.   A Man Called Sun
  38.   So Sister
  39.   Lord I Guess I'll Never Know
  40.   Come On
  41.   Space and Time
  42.   The Rolling People
  43.   Life's an Ocean
  44.   So It Goes
  45.   A New Decade
  46.   Butterfly
  47.   Make It Till Monday
  48.   Virtual World
  49.   Star Sail
  50.   Slide Away
  51.   Already There
  52.   Beautiful Mind
  53.   Shoeshine Girl
  54.   Funky Jam (aka The Rolling People)
  55.   Major Force
  56.   All Night Long
  57.   Appalachian Springs
  58.   Noise Epic
  59.   Monte Carlo
  60.   Life's Not a Rehearsal
  61.   Never Wanna See You Cry
  62.   Back on My Feet Again
  63.   You and Me
  64.   Where the Geese Go
  65.   Endless Life
  66.   Country Song
  67.   Echo Bass
  68.   Neon Wilderness
  69.   Reprise
  70.   Stormy Clouds
  71.   No Knock on My Door
  72.   Drive You Home
  73.   Brainstorm Interlude
  74.   The Sun, The Sea
  75.   See You in the Next One (Have a Good Time)
  76.   Columbo
  77.   One Day
  78.   A Northern Soul
  79.   King Riff (aka This Is Music)
  80.   One Way to Go
  81.   South Pacific
  82.   Let the Damage Begin
  83.   I See the Door
  84.   All in the Mind
  85.   Grey Skies
  86.   Monkey Magic
  87.   Mover