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The Verve

Long acclaimed as one of the most innovative and spellbinding bands on the contemporary British pop scene, the Verve finally broke through to a mass international audience in 1997 with the instant classic "Bittersweet Symphony." By no stretch a study in overnight success, the group's rise was instead the culmination of a long, arduous journey that began at the dawn of the decade and went on to encompass a major breakup, multiple lawsuits, and an extensive diet of narcotics. Perfecting an oceanic sound that fused the exploratory vision of '60s-era psychedelia with the shimmering atmospherics of the shoegazer aesthetic, the Verve languished in relative obscurity while waiting for the rest of the music world to play catch-up, creating one of the most complex and rewarding bodies of work in modern rock & roll long before most listeners even learned of the group's existence -- only to again fall apart at the peak of their success. Originally known simply as Verve, the group was formed in the small Northern English city of Wigan in 1989. Richard Ashcroft -- a swaggering, shamanic figure in the classic rock star mold -- led the band, whose original lineup also included guitarist Nick McCabe, bassist Simon Jones, and drummer Peter Salisbury. Sharing a collective fondness for the Beatles, Funkadelic, and Krautrock -- as well as a legendary appetite for psychedelics -- the quartet signed to the Hut label within months, debuting in March 1992 with the single "All in the Mind," the first in a series of indie chart-topping efforts featuring the eye-catching artwork of designer Brian Cannon. Subsequent efforts like "She's a Superstar" and "Gravity Grave" captured an original musical identity growing by leaps and bounds, distinguished chiefly by Ashcroft's elemental vocals and McCabe's echoing guitar leads. While Verve's long, liquid jams found favor on the British indie charts, pop radio looked the other way. Their majestic debut LP, 1993's A Storm in Heaven, was a critical smash, but positive reviews from a variety of critics failed to translate into strong record sales. The following summer, Verve appeared on the second stage at Lollapalooza, a tour tempered by a string of disasters -- not only was Salisbury arrested for destroying a Kansas hotel room, but Ashcroft was also hospitalized after suffering from severe dehydration. Around that same time, the American jazz label also dubbed Verve slapped the band with a lawsuit, forcing the quartet to officially change its name to "the Verve." Sessions for the 1995 follow-up, A Northern Soul, proved to be the last straw -- admittedly recorded under the influence of a massive intake of Ecstasy, the album's harrowing intensity was met with disappointing sales and little media recognition, and just three months after its release, Ashcroft made his exit. Although Ashcroft quickly reassembled the Verve a few weeks later, McCabe initially refused to return, and was replaced by guitarist/keyboardist Simon Tong. Finally, in early 1997, McCabe came back to the fold, and as a quintet they recorded Urban Hymns, their breakthrough LP. Heralded by the smash "Bittersweet Symphony" -- a single built around a looped sample of a symphonic recording of the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time" -- Urban Hymns launched the Verve among the U.K.'s most popular bands. Even at their peak, however, the curse of the band's past lingered on, as legal hassles awarded 100 percent of the song's publishing rights to ABKCO Music, which controlled the Stones' back catalog. The second single from the album, the haunting "The Drugs Don't Work," became the Verve's first U.K. number one smash, while the hit singles "Lucky Man" and "Sonnet" soon followed. However, when McCabe pulled out of the group's 1998 U.S. tour, the group suffered yet another blow. After months of rumors, the Verve officially split the following spring. Ashcroft launched a solo career in the early 2000s and enjoyed success with a number of singles, including "Break the Night with Colour." Meanwhile, Nick McCabe remixed a track for the Music and collaborated with British songwriter John Martyn, while Tong and Jones formed a short-lived band named the Shining. Tong later joined the Good, the Bad & the Queen in July 2006, and although he continued to focus on his post-Verve projects, the remaining members of the Verve reunited in 2007 for an international tour. The band also set to work on another studio album, Forth, which was released in August 2008 following a successful year of sold-out concerts and festival dates. Despite Forth debuting at number one, the Verve's comeback was short-lived. Reports of another split started to circulate by August 2009, and in July 2010 Ashcroft confirmed the band's breakup. ~ Jason Ankeny
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Stations Featuring
The Verve

    1-Hit Wonders

    1-Hit Wonders
    1 song

    Relax Trax

    Relax Trax
    4 songs

    '90s Alternative

    '90s Alternative
    3 songs

    Adult Alternative

    Adult Alternative
    2 songs

    Adult Rock

    2 songs

    Coffeehouse Corner

    1 song

    Top Alternative

    1 song

    Alternative Mix

    1 song

    Pop Rock

    1 song

    '90s Pop

    1 song

    Shuffle Hits

    1 song

Albums by
The Verve

Top Songs by
The Verve

  1.   Song
  2.   Bitter Sweet Symphony
  3.   Lucky Man
  4.   The Drugs Don't Work
  5.   Sonnet
  6.   Love Is Noise
  7.   Valium Skies
  8.   This Is Music
  9.   Velvet Morning
  10.   Rather Be
  11.   History
  12.   On Your Own
  13.   This Time
  14.   Catching the Butterfly
  15.   Blue
  16.   Slide Away
  17.   Space and Time
  18.   The Sun, The Sea
  19.   Appalachian Springs
  20.   This Could Be My Moment
  21.   Three Steps
  22.   Where the Geese Go
  23.   She's a Superstar
  24.   Country Song
  25.   So Sister
  26.   Life's an Ocean
  27.   Drive You Home
  28.   Make It Till Monday
  29.   You and Me
  30.   Star Sail
  31.   King Riff (aka This Is Music)
  32.   Muhammad Ali
  33.   Funky Jam (aka The Rolling People)
  34.   Brake Lights
  35.   Major Force
  36.   Numbness
  37.   Judas
  38.   Make It 'Til Monday
  39.   Monte Carlo
  40.   Grey Skies
  41.   The Longest Day
  42.   MSG
  43.   Dance on Your Bones
  44.   The Crab
  45.   6 O'Clock
  46.   All in the Mind
  47.   A Man Called Sun
  48.   Gravity Grave
  49.   Echo Bass
  50.   Come On
  51.   One Day
  52.   Weeping Willow
  53.   The Rolling People
  54.   Stormy Clouds
  55.   Already There
  56.   Beautiful Mind
  57.   Virtual World
  58.   Butterfly
  59.   See You in the Next One (Have a Good Time)
  60.   A New Decade
  61.   So It Goes
  62.   A Northern Soul
  63.   Brainstorm Interlude
  64.   No Knock on My Door
  65.   Shoeshine Girl
  66.   Mover
  67.   All Night Long
  68.   Columbo
  69.   Noise Epic
  70.   Sit and Wonder
  71.   Life's Not a Rehearsal
  72.   Little Gem
  73.   I See the Door
  74.   Stamped
  75.   One Way to Go
  76.   No Come Down
  77.   Endless Life
  78.   Lord I Guess I'll Never Know
  79.   South Pacific
  80.   Reprise
  81.   Feel
  82.   Never Wanna See You Cry
  83.   Monkey Magic
  84.   Back on My Feet Again
  85.   Let the Damage Begin
  86.   Twilight
  87.   I See Houses
  88.   Neon Wilderness