The Verve

The Verve - Part of that breath of fresh air known as The 90s.


The Verve -  Part of that breath of fresh air known as The 90s.
The Verve – Part of that breath of fresh air known as The 90s.

Ending up a hectic and strange week with a session from The Verve, recorded for John Peel at The BBC on February 13, 1992. Fronted by the charismatic Richard Ashcroft, The Verve had been around for a while before their fortunes changed in 1997 with the release of Urban Hymns,containing the masterful Bitter Sweet Symphony, The Drugs Don’t Work and Lucky Man. Bitter Sweet Symphony was Grammy nominated for Best Rock Song in 1999. A sign their popularity became worldwide.

Through several breakups and plagued with drama, drugs and lawsuits, The Verve kept things going, until the final breakup in 2009 – and even then, there have been rumors of a reunion, despite the members going off on different directions.

Tonight it’s The Verve during their first taste of critical success. The release of their first three singles solidified much of the buzz the band was getting, almost since their inception in 1990. This session comes around the time of their first record deal (having signed with Hut Records in 1991) and the release of those first three singles.

Beginning with a psychedelic sound with their debut LP A Storm in Heaven, by the mid-1990s the band had released several EPs and three albums. They 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. The album features the hit singles “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, “The Drugs Don’t Work”, “Sonnet” and “Lucky Man”. 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 disbanded 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 2008 following their final performance together at the V Festival, but the band didn’t disclose this information until 2009.

One of the truly great bands of the 90s, The Verve were never predictable and far from formulaic. They were originals and they were part of a very fresh breath of air, that still resonates today.

Play loud and get ready for the weekend.

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