The Verve

Formed 1989. Disbanded 2009.
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Richard Ashcroft on the making of The Verve's Urban Hymns

Steve Lamacq talks to Richard Ashcroft about The Verve's 1997 LP Urban Hymns.

Featured in BBC Music Clips


The Verve were an English rock band formed in Wigan in 1990 by lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bass guitarist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury. The guitarist and keyboard player Simon Tong became a member at a later date. Beginning with a psychedelic sound, by the mid-1990s the band had released several EPs and three albums. It also endured name and line-up changes, break-ups, health problems, drug abuse and various lawsuits. The band's commercial breakthrough was the 1997 album Urban Hymns, one of the best-selling albums in UK Chart history, and the single "Bitter Sweet Symphony", which became a worldwide hit. In 1998, the band won two Brit Awards—winning Best British Group, appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in March, and in February 1999, "Bitter Sweet Symphony" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.

Soon after their commercial peak, The Verve broke up in April 1999, citing internal conflicts. According to Billboard magazine, "the group's rise was 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". During an eight-year split, Ashcroft dismissed talk of a reunion, saying: "You're more likely to get all four Beatles on stage." The band's original line-up reunited in June 2007, embarking on a tour later that year and releasing the album Forth in August 2008, which spawned the hit single "Love Is Noise". Amid revived tensions, the band broke up for the third time in 2009.

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Links & Information

BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Forth

    Forth 2008

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    For the faithful amongst us, The Verve are well and truly back.
  2. Review of This Is Music: Singles 92-98

    This Is Music: Singles 92-98 2007

    Reviewed by Lou Thomas
    Anyone with a passing Verve interest should check out the albums that generated these...
  3. Review of Urban Hymns

    Urban Hymns 1997

    Reviewed by Wendy Roby
    Still thrilling, this album soars with autumnal melancholy.
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