Why Richard Ashcroft owes Song For The Lovers to Joy Division

3 April 2020, 11:12 | Updated: 3 April 2020, 11:16

Watch the former Verve frontman reveal the story and meaning behind his first solo single.

Richard Ashcroft's Song For The Lovers celebrates its 20th anniversary this week, having been released on 3 April 2000.

The single was a very significant one for The Verve legend; it was the opening track on Ashcroft's debut solo album, Alone With Everybody, the lead track from the album, and therefor it was released as his first ever solo single - cementing his status as one of the great songwriters of his generation.

But would it surprise you to know that the song, which has touched the hearts of many over the years was inspired by Manchester band Joy Division?

Find out why Richard Ashcroft owes one of his most famous songs to Ian Curtis here...

Richard Ashcroft and the late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis
Richard Ashcroft and the late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. Picture: 1. Jon Mo Photography 2. Martin O'Neill/Redferns

How was Richard Ashcroft's Song For The Lovers inspired by Joy Division?

The former Verve frontman took part in a special conversation with Radio X's John Kennedy at London's Hammersmith Club in front of an intimate audience in 2018, and discussed the inspiration behind his biggest tracks.

Speaking about Song For The Lovers, Ashcroft explained: "I was in a hotel in London. It was a pretty shoddy hotel and back in the day there was still some of those bedheads with built-in radios."

"I was in a love situation," he continued. "Had a bit of a love affair thing going down and I turned the radio on and [Joy Division's] Love Will Tear Us Apart bizarrely came out of this radio on the bedhead.

"It kind of triggered this 'play Misty for me' thing of "DJ play a song for the lovers" because the timing of this tune and Love Will Tear Us Apart coming out of this bedhead seemed perfect, you know?"

Watch Richard Ashcroft's Song For The Lovers video:

He added: "So I decided right, what about expanding that thought to make the Song For The Lovers? A song for that feeling of trepidation, anxiety, excitement. You're on the precipice. Potentially this person might be with you for life.

"Who knows where we're heading, but we're definitely on the train together. We've definitely gone beyond thinking about it or talking about it. We are lovers...."

As for the sound of his debut solo track, Ashcroft revealed: "The song itself... At the time I was listening to a lot of Scott Walker and things like that.... just wanted to write some big Scott Walker, Chic... It was future music man.

"There was nothing else out like that song."

READ MORE: Why Richard Ashcroft has remained silent on The Verve split

Watch him perform the 2000 single in our video:

READ MORE: Richard Ashcroft slams the press for his 'Mad Richard' label