Even though singer Richard Ashcroft has written some fantastic songs, he’ll be forever known as the guy who was sued by the Rolling Stones for his track “Bitter Sweet Symphony.”
The track was released with some pretty heavily used samples from an orchestral cover of the Rolling Stones’ 1965 song “The Last Time.” The portion sampled was written by arranger David Whitaker. Now keep in mind that the sample wasn’t from the Stones’ original recording, but, while the Verve cleared the rights to sample the orchestral recording, they did not get the publishing rights from the Stones.
This led to longtime Stones manager and music industry figure Allen Klein, who by the way owned the copyright to “The Last Time,” subsequently sued frontman Richard Ashcroft, resulting in Mick Jagger and Keith Richards receiving songwriting credit and 100% of the songwriting royalties from “Bitter Sweet Symphony.”
This has apparently all changed. A press release from Ashcroft’s camp says that Jagger and Richards have agreed to unconditionally give their songwriting credits and publishing rights for “Bitter Sweet Symphony” to Ashcroft. The decision comes following a direct plea to the Stones members from Ashcroft’s management.
The full statement from Richard Ashcroft reads:
It gives me great pleasure to announce as of last month Mick Jagger and Keith Richards agreed to give me their share of the song Bitter Sweet Symphony. This remarkable and life affirming turn of events was made possible by a kind and magnanimous gesture from Mick and Keith, who have also agreed that they are happy for the writing credit to exclude their names and all their royalties derived from the song they will now pass to me.
I would like to thank the main players in this, my management Steve Kutner and John Kennedy, the Stones manager Joyce Smyth and Jody Klein (for actually taking the call) lastly a huge unreserved heartfelt thanks and respect to Mick and Keith.
Wow, who said a leopard can’t change its spots…