Richard Ashcroft claims Netflix wants to make a show on Bitter Sweet Symphony dispute

8 November 2021, 13:20 | Updated: 8 November 2021, 13:33

Richard Ashcroft performs in 2021
Richard Ashcroft says Netflix want to make a show about Bitter Sweet Symphony. Picture: Brandon/Redferns/Getty

By Rachel Finn

The former Verve frontman says he saw a script for a Netflix show on the subject and hopes it "doesn't happen".

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Richard Ashcroft has said that Netflix wants to make a documentary drama about the Bitter Sweet Symphony copyright dispute, but that he hopes it "doesn’t happen".

The Verve hit was previously at the centre of a copyright row with The Rolling Stones’ ex-manager Allen Klein over its sampling of the Stones’ The Last Time. However, the dispute was resolved in 2019, with Ashcroft and The Verve no longer having to pay royalties to Klein’s company ABKCO.

Speaking to the Daily Express, the Wigan bard said: “The way [the song] has come back to me is fantastic.”

He continued: "I saw an absolutely terrible script Netflix were going to do about Bitter Sweet Symphony. It was an insight into just how far from reality these shows can go. It was an absolute piece of garbage. It’s quite scary someone wanted to make it and make people believe it was the reality. I hope it doesn’t happen."

READ MORE: Richard Ashcroft says Bitter Sweet Symphony dispute was the catalyst for Acoustic Hymns album

Bitter Sweet Symphony was originally released in 1997 on The Verve’s Urban Hymns album, which reached number two in the UK albums chart.

The song was based on a sample from an Andrew Loog Aldham orchestral cover of The Rolling Stones song The Last Time, which led to legal controversy after it was claimed the song was plagiarised.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were later added to the songwriting credits, with royalties from the song going to former Rolling Stones manager Allen Klein. However, in April 2019 the band ceded their claims to royalties from the song.

Ashcroft recently re-recorded the hit single for his Acoustic Hymns Vol. 1 album, which was released last month. and revealed that the dispute was the "catalyst" for the whole album.

Ashcroft revealed: "What stimulated it was when when The [Rolling] Stones and other people owned the publishing to the song and sometimes early days when I would play it live, I'd go 'OK I'm going to strip it right back now with the acoustic just on my own and show people that there is a real heart to this song.'"

He continued: "So what we did was we got in touch with The Stones' people and said, 'If Rich does this other version and there's no sample in it, can we have a discussion?'

"The great thing was that, that just seemed to accelerate from there into Mick [Jagger] and Keith [Richards] signing over the whole lot for all of it. So the catalyst for this album [was] the song and then that opened up the door. This other version of it is bizarrely more Stones-y than the original. Very Stones-y and that's the irony."

READ MORE: Richard Ashcroft regains rights to Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve