This is why The Verve didn't want to release Sonnet as a single

2 March 2023, 15:00

Richard Ashcroft on The Verve's Sonnet

Richard Ashcroft claims that some of his songs are “so powerful” that they take on a life of their own, including this classic Urban Hymns track.

Richard Ashcroft has admitted that some of his songs are so powerful that they are “beyond him” - including the classic 1997 track Sonnet.

But The Verve almost didn’t release the song as a single from their hugely-popular album Urban Hymns.

The reason? Sonnet would have been fourth single to be taken from the LP.

The Verve - Sonnet

The band didn’t want to milk the album too much; in fact, by the time the single was released, it was a full six months after the parent album hit stores, but their label Hut insisted.

The Verve’s label Hut insisted that they capitalise on the band’s huge fame at the time, so the band agreed to the single release - but only if it was as a limited edition.

The track was issued as 12”, limited to just 5,000 copies, which came in a cardboard envelope that you could stash the rest of your Urban Hymns singles in. The single was issued to shops on 2 March 1998 and crept to a lowly No 74 in the UK charts.

The Verve - Sonnet single
The Verve - Sonnet single. Picture: Press

Despite the low-key release twenty three years ago, Richard Ashcroft still admits that Sonnet can still move an audience.

He told Radio Xt: “Songs like Sonnet… they’re so powerful, they’re beyond me and I think that’s an exciting thing.

“What’s good is that now I’m in a position where each drop of new material just makes [picking a] setlist a problem - it’s like having an incredible team, you know?”

"Yes, there's love if you want it
Don't sound like no sonnet, my lord"

In fact, Ashcroft can’t choose a favourite song out of his solo back catalogue and his work with The Verve.

He explained: “The only way I can answer that is by saying: Which one out of those tunes sums up that feeling best?

“Looking back at them all, I’ve got a new song on this album called That’s How Strong, then I go through things that people don’t even know, like Brave New World.”

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