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Old 07-05-2005, 07:50 PM   #16
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One of the greatest bands ever! The selftitled EP is one of their best, very athmospheric (download "A man called sun", its an amazing, amazing, amazing song), Richard Ashcroft is the best lyricist of the past 10 years (sorry Bono) and Nick McCabe, as you said, is a guitar god (he was Noel Gallagher's first option to replace Bonehead in Oasis, can you imagine that happening?????)
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Old 08-10-2005, 10:55 AM   #17
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I've been listening to Urban Hymns for a couple of weeks now and I just love it love it love it, beginning to end. Songs I'd forgotten about that I've fallen in love with again, like "Lucky Man". Ashcroft's voice is so powerful, the music so beautiful, that I even forgive lyrics like "Yes, there's love if you want it, Don't sound like no sonnet," lol. I especially love the trippy "Catching the Butterfly" and "Velvet Morning." Now I'm going to go out and buy their whole catalog. What a shame they split up after this record, their breakthrough record.
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Old 08-10-2005, 11:04 AM   #18
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The Verve are criminally underrated. URBAN HYMNS is one of my top 10 records of all-time, I think it blows the door off another excellent but overhyped record released that same year (1997)...something about a computer? LOL.

Velvet Morning....

Check out A Northern Soul as well...more trippy/experimental, but some fantastic tunes. A Storm in Heaven has some great moments, too. A shame they split and McCabe has such a bad attitude in general.

I liked Ashcroft's first solo record but its not the same...the Verve had more of an edge and were better at being angry. Ashcroft has definitely mellowed.
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Old 08-10-2005, 12:31 PM   #19
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Originally posted by Hawkfire
The Verve are criminally underrated. URBAN HYMNS is one of my top 10 records of all-time, I think it blows the door off another excellent but overhyped record released that same year (1997)...something about a computer? LOL.

Puh.. ga..pfft..grunt..GAAAAA! *lowers then shakes head*

good CD all the same!
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Old 08-10-2005, 05:04 PM   #20
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The Verve were a British rock and roll band of the 1990s, originally formed in Wigan, England in 1989 by vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bassist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury.

Although they came on times when the Britpop hysteria and movement were internationally famous, they aren't considered such an act at all and their rise to success did not happen overnight - the band released LPs that were critically acclaimed and highly regarded, yet worldwide commercial success eluded them for most of their career.

Despite having to endure major breakups, health problems, drug abuse, and various lawsuits, the Verve released four successful albums and cemented a reputation as one of the most innovative and influential British rock acts of the last decade. At the height of their fame in 1997, the Verve were considered one of the finest bands from the UK and were one of the most popular groups worldwide before they abruptly called it quits in 1999.

In terms of influence and in the way they achieved fame, they are often compared to fellow alternative rockers Radiohead, but unlike them they suffered lack of commercial successa and unfortunate struggles between the chief artists Nick McCabe and Richard Ashcroft, which caused their final demise, interestingly at the same very end of the Britpop movement.

History

Early Years
The Verve (originally called Verve) were formed in the town of Wigan in 1989. Led by Richard Ashcroft, an enigmatic lead singer who was rivalled by very few in the British rock scene for his stage presence and vocal abilities, the band caused a buzz in early 1991 for their ability to captivate audiences with their musical textures and sonic aptitude. With Ashcroft's song-writing skills and McCabe's unique and impressive guitar work, the Verve released their first studio release on Hut Records - the 1992's ethereal Verve EP. The Verve EP was positively received and established the Verve as cult favourites with epic songs like "Gravity Grave" and "A Man Called Sun".


The early years from left: Peter Salisbury, Richard Ashcroft, Nick McCabe, Simon Jones1993's A Storm in Heaven, the band's full-length debut, produced by famous Britpop producer John Leckie, was a critical hit (both in the UK and the US), but failed to attract a broader audience. The whirling psychedelic sound of the album wasn't radio friendly in the eyes of the music industry and the general pop audience. However, critics and the indie rock community hailed the LP for its expansive sound, particularly regarding Nick McCabe's unique and mind-blowing guitar work. The single "Slide Away" topped indie rock charts and made enough of a splash across the Atlantic to score the Verve a spot in the successful 90s alternative rock festival, Lollapalooza, in 1994. The tour was disastrous for the group as Ashcroft was hospitalised for dehydration while Salisbury was arrested for destroying a hotel room in Kansas. After the tour, the Jazz label Verve sued the band for copyright infringements and forced the group to officially change their name to The Verve.

Turbulent Recordings and a Breakup
The turmoil continued well into the recording sessions of the follow-up album, 1995's A Northern Soul. The massive intake of drugs (particularly Ecstasy) and the strained relationship between Ashcroft and McCabe during the sessions took its toll on the band. Richard Ashcroft later described the recording experience as "Four intense, mad months. Really insane. In great ways and terrible ways. In ways that only good music and bad drugs and mixed emotions can make". When A Northern Soul was released, it received very strong reviews. The band broke new ground by departing from the neo-psychedelic sounds of A Storm in Heaven and instead recorded a powerful British alternative rock album. The singles "This Is Music", "On Your Own", and "History" all reached the UK Top 40. The latter two singles were particularly new for the Verve as they dabbled with soulful ballads, a formula that would make their final album such a success. Despite the critical praise the album received, the band once again experienced a lack of commercial success. The rise of Britpop had captivated the UK in the mid-90s and the media had their attention on the Oasis vs. Blur rivalry instead of focusing on the Verve's album. The disappointing album sales and his strained relationship with Nick McCabe resulted in Richard Ashcroft breaking up the band.


The Height of Fame

Although Ashcroft reunited the group just a few weeks after the breakup, McCabe refused to rejoin the line-up. As a replacement, the band chose old Wigan schoolmate Simon Tong to fill in the lead guitar duties for the remainder of the tour.

Ashcroft, Jones, Salisbury, and Tong went ahead and started writing songs for the upcoming album. In 1997, Nick McCabe returned to the fold (a crucial moment for the band). With the band back together, the group went through a "spiritual" recording process to finish the epic Britpop classic, Urban Hymns. For the first time in their careers, the Verve not only received very strong critical reviews, but they also experienced major commercial success. Not only was the album a hit in the UK, but the band also "broke" into the US and most of the world. The first single off Urban Hymns, "Bitter Sweet Symphony", was an instant hit. It entered the UK charts at #2 and remained on the charts for 3 months. The single was also very popular in the US, topping the charts at #12 (their highest position ever in the Billboards). The song borrows a reversed looped sample of a symphonic recording of the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time".

Urban Hymns propelled the Verve from merely critical darlings to one of the UK's most popular bands. The timing of the release couldn't have been better. The state of Britpop was in question. Once the kings of the rock world, Oasis was nowhere to be seen with their lacklustre effort, Be Here Now, while their rivals Blur decided to progress away from Britpop and focused their attention on the American Indie Rock scene. The releases of Urban Hymns and Radiohead's OK Computer were considered by many as classics that kept the wave of Britpop rolling for at least a few more years.

Despite their success, turmoil was still a constant reality for the band. ABKCO Music, which runs the Rolling Stones' back catalogue, and which had warned The Verve against using the Rolling Stones sample in "Bitter Sweet Symphony," successfully sued the Verve for 100% of the royalties for "Bitter Sweet Symphony"; further, as a result of the lawsuit, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were given songwriting credits and full publishing rights to the song, which later appeared in a Nike commercial against The Verve's will. Then, as the band was on a very successful tour to promote the album, bassist Simon Jones collapsed on stage. Things got worse when Nick McCabe suddenly pulled from the tour and decided he couldn't tolerate the constant life on the road any longer (some speculate that the incident with Jones and McCabe's relationship with Ashcroft were the reasons).

The band continued with established session guitarist B.J. Cole replacing McCabe but the spark of their return seemed to be deserting them. After two headline performances at the V98 festivals and one at Dublin's Slane Castle everything went quiet. Rumours began circulating that the band had called it quits for good. Finally, in April 1999 it was announced that The Verve had split up.

Post-Breakup
After the band's final collapse, Simon Jones and Simon Tong formed a new group called The Shining as well as working with former Stone Roses guitarist John Squire on a group that never properly formed. Tong has also appeared as a live replacement for ex-guitarist Graham Coxon in Blur. Nick McCabe has mostly remained quiet after the breakup, although he has recently worked with a few artists, notably John Martin and Leeds based band, The Music. Beside working with Ashcroft, Salisbury also filled in as the drummer for a UK tour in 2004 for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, when their original drummer briefly left. Salisbury also owns a drum shop in Stockport, England.

By the time band finally split, Richard Ashcroft had already been working on solo material accompanied by, among others, the band's ex-drummer Peter Salisbury and B.J. Cole. In April 2000, his first solo single, "A Song For The Lovers", was released and hit Number 3. He debuted with Alone With Everybody (June 2000) and followed it by Human Conditions (October 2002). However, like his former band, Ashcroft isn't enjoying high commercial success. Recently, backed up by Coldplay, Ashcroft performed "Bitter Sweet Symphony" at the Live 8 concerts on 2 July 2005 at Hyde Park in London. He is readying his third solo album aimed for a Spring 2006 release.


Line-up

The Core Foursome
Richard Ashcroft - vocals (1990-1999)
Nick McCabe - guitar (1990-1995)(1997-1998)
Simon Jones - bass guitar (1990-1999)
Peter Salisbury - drums (1990-1999)

Replacement guitarists
Simon Tong (1996-1999)
B.J. Cole (1998-1999)

Discography

Albums
1.Verve EP (1992)

2.A Storm in Heaven (1993) #27 UK

3.A Northern Soul (1995) #13 UK

4.Urban Hymns (1997) #1 UK, #23 US

- from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Verve
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Old 08-10-2005, 05:24 PM   #21
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You like, yes?

[offtopic]You going to the Lucinda Williams show at the Lensic??[/offtopic]
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Old 08-10-2005, 05:39 PM   #22
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Yay the Verve, they are so good and so easily overlooked by some people. I only own Urban Hymns but am looking to invest in others soon. Richard Ashcroft is amazing..

*has sweet sweet flashback of Richard Ashcroft singing Bittersweet Symphony with Coldplay at Live 8*
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Old 08-10-2005, 05:42 PM   #23
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So I've heard their first album/albums (maybe their later do too, I dont know) have some shoegaze in them. Is this true???

I sure do like that shoegaze.
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Old 08-10-2005, 05:58 PM   #24
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shoegaze

No shoegaze on Urban Hymns but definitely a couple of ecstasy-inspired trippy spacey stuff mixed in with catchy pop classics.
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Old 08-10-2005, 06:08 PM   #25
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Originally posted by u2popmofo
So I've heard their first album/albums (maybe their later do too, I dont know) have some shoegaze in them. Is this true???

I sure do like that shoegaze.
Their first album,"A Storm In Heaven", has a song called "Star Sail." Guess it's kinda shoegazer, but more psychedelic and moody than Ride, Lush, MBV, etc.
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Old 08-10-2005, 07:18 PM   #26
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Yep, one of the most underrated bands.
Urban Hymns is one of my favourite albums of all time but make sure you check out History - if you like UH, you''ll love the song History!
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Old 08-10-2005, 09:16 PM   #27
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The 2nd album is better than Urban Hymns, really densely layered and inspiring, not to mention better songwriting overall, in my opinion.
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Old 08-10-2005, 09:19 PM   #28
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The 2nd album is better than Urban Hymns, really densely layered and inspiring, not to mention better songwriting overall, in my opinion.
Yep. "A Northern Soul" is a band at their peak.
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Old 08-11-2005, 03:25 AM   #29
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thanks cmb for posting that history of the band.

As if I didn't despise Mick Jagger enough already. It's really disgusting that him and Richards got full royalties when the loop was only one bit of a brilliantly produced track. The idea that they sold it to Nike enrages me.

Luckily I'm able to listen to old Stones records without any side-effects, but god those guys are capitalist douchebags.
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Old 08-11-2005, 06:32 AM   #30
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Originally posted by lazarus
thanks cmb for posting that history of the band.

As if I didn't despise Mick Jagger enough already. It's really disgusting that him and Richards got full royalties when the loop was only one bit of a brilliantly produced track. The idea that they sold it to Nike enrages me.

Luckily I'm able to listen to old Stones records without any side-effects, but god those guys are capitalist douchebags.
Don't forget to give it up for The Verve's sheer stupidity. That's as much to blame as Jagger/Richards. They were warned, and went ahead anyway, using a string line that can hardly be heard in the tune, and could have simply been played on a keyboard thus avoidiung the whole mess.

If you choose to go out in the rain w/o an umbrella, don't complain when you get wet.

End result, The Verve did it to themselves.
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