The Verve named Number 1 in Radio X's Top 100 Of The 1990s

31 August 2020, 18:52 | Updated: 1 September 2020, 12:50

Richard Ashcroft's classic 1997 has come tops in our most-played songs of the decade.

The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony has been named Number 1 in Radio X's Top 100 Of The 90s, beating off competition from Don't Look Back In Anger by Oasis and Why Does It Always Rain on Me by Travis.

"It's amazing," Richard Ashcroft told Radio X's George Godfrey when he heard the news. "The fans, then your peers - they're the two things that count."

He said of the song: "I wanted to make it totally universal. That's the thing about it. You don't write imagining a crowd at a stadium. This was written before any of that. The culture wasn't the same. I honestly believed it was done in a different mind set. The people make it an anthem, because they're the ones that sing along to the words."

The former Verve frontman noted that Bitter Sweet Symphony remained relevant 23 years after its release. "It's a very fresh piece of music," he explained. "It could easily be a soundtrack to what the world's going through right now. It chimes now just as it did back then."

Richard recalled the feeling he had when he'd finished the song back in 1997. "We used to put the windows down in the car and put it on. We'd use the traffic lights as a litmus test."

This August Bank Holiday Monday (31 August) saw Radio X take a look back at one of the most epic and eclectic decades in music by revealing Radio X's most played songs from the 90s - with stats provided by PPL.

Radio X Top 100 Of The 90s Top 10

1. The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony
2. Oasis - Don't Look Back In Anger
3. Travis - Why Does It Always Rain On Me?
4. The La's - There She Goes
5. James - Sit Down
6. Oasis - Wonderwall
7. R.E.M. - Losing My Religion
8. The Boo Radleys - Wake Up Boo!
9. The Cardigans - Lovefool
10. Spin Doctors - Two Princes

See the full Radio X Top 100 Of The 90s here

The track was the lead single from the Wigan band's third studio album Urban Hymns. Released on 16 June 1997, Bitter Sweet Symphony was accompanied by a memorable video directed by Walter A. Stern that featured frontman Richard Ashcroft walking down a street in Hoxton, East London.

The instrumental backing to the track was sampled from a symphonic version of The Rolling Stones' The Last Time, which was recorded in 1965 by the Andrew Oldham Orchestra. This caused a legal case, which saw Mick Jagger and Keith Richards added to the songwriting credits. However, Ashcroft told Radio X: "The song resonated so strongly that it overshadowed the negativity of the legal stuff around the song."

However, in May 2019, Ashcroft revealed that Jagger and Richards had reverted the rights to the song back to the Verve frontman, allowing him to be credited as the sole author of the song.

Listen back to the Radio X Top 100 Of The 90s on Global Player

Radio X Top 100 Of The 90s
Radio X Top 100 Of The 90s. Picture: Radio X

Every song in our Top 100 Of The 90s was released between the start of 1990 and the end of 1999. Every song will have had at least one play on Radio X in the last 12 months. And every song will make you feel seriously nostalgic!

PPL’s charts are compiled from exclusive music usage and airplay data from radio stations and television channels as well as public places such as pubs, clubs, bars, jukeboxes, and shops all across the UK, showcasing the music that soundtracks our lives.

PPL is the UK’s music licensing company for performers and record labels, ensuring those who invest their time, talent and money in recorded music are paid when it is played on the radio, TV and in public places. It represents over 115,000 members – from established session musicians and globally renowned artists to independent labels and major record companies. In 2019 it collected £271.8 million.