Richard Ashcroft's 10 greatest solo songs

11 September 2021, 09:00

Richard Ashcroft - and some of his biggest songs
Richard Ashcroft - and some of his biggest songs. Picture: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Celebrate the former Verve frontman's 50th birthday by looking back at some of his best solo works.

Richard Ashcroft is 50 years old on 11 September 2021.

Over the years, he's been the frontman with the acclaimed band The Verve, and made a number of guest appearances with the likes of The Chemical Brothers, UNKLE and the side project United Nations Of Sound.

But since 2000, the musician has forged an impressive career that kicked off with the incredible single Song For The Lovers. Here's our pick of solo Ashcroft.

READ MORE: How a "spotty" student Richard Ashcroft convinced Brian Cannon to create The Verve artwork

  1. Surprised by the Joy (Natural Rebel)

    2018 saw Richard Ashcroft return with his fifth solo album- and from it came Surprised By The Joy, which sees him back in the guise of the acoustic storyteller.

  2. This Is How It Feels (These People)

    The first track to be taken from Ashcroft's 2016's These People album saw him back to his ballad-ing best.

  3. Music Is Power (Keys to the World)

    The second track from Ashcroft's 2006 Keys to the World LP has plenty of musical history, featuring a sample from Walter Jackson's It's All Over and being written by Curtis Mayfield.

    Despite not penning the track itself, Ashcroft brings it to life during his performances as there's no doubt he believes every word.

  4. Lord I've Been Trying (Human Conditions)

    The penultimate song on Human Conditions has the blueprint of some of Richard Ashcroft's best album tracks; deeply contemplative lyrics, sumptuous strings, vocals which just get bigger and bigger as the song goes on.... Need we go on?

  5. They Don’t Own Me (These People)

    A definite highlight from Ashcroft's These People album, They Don't Own Me sees him hit the sweet spot vocally.

    Watch his stirring performance live for Radio X's Gordon Smart above.

  6. Buy It in Bottles (Human Conditions)

    Track two and the third and final single to be taken from Human Conditions is a must in the Richard Ashcroft canon.

    Part-pop song, part-hymn, Buy It In Bottles hits all the right spots with some heavier Verve-esque elements in its middle eight to keep all the fans happy.

  7. Come On People (We’re Making It Now) - Alone with Everybody

    It's an absolute live favourite, and with good reason. The 2000 Alone with Everybody track has all the markings of a great Verve single... and that's probably due to the fact that it (along with Song For The Lovers and New York) was originally recorded for band's seminal album, Urban Hymns (1997).

  8. Check The Meaning (Human Conditions)

    Another Human Conditions track that seems to have stood the test of time, Check The Meaning sees Ashcroft explore themes of mental health and spirituality which he manages to wrap up in a beautiful bow.

  9. Break the Night with Colour (Keys to the world)

    The first single to be taken from 2006's Keys to the World, Break The Night with Colour entered the UK charts at number three and it's easy to see why.

  10. Song For The Lovers (Alone with Everybody)

    The opening track from his debut solo album Alone with Everybody (2000) saw The Verve man coming straight out of the gate.

    If it wasn't clear to his doubters whether he could command as much attention as a solo artist, this proved them wrong.

    The iconic video for A Song For The Lovers, which ees him pottering around a hotel suite, is simple and yet as memorable as the track itself.

    And who can argue with that epic intro?

READ MORE: Why The Verve's Sonnet almost wasn't released as a single

Watch Richard Ashcroft talk about The Verve's Sonnet:

READ MORE: Why Richard Ashcroft's A Song For The Lovers owes a debt to Joy Division