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Mick Jagger & Keith Richards make 'magnanimous gesture' ending Bitter Sweet Symphony feud

Keith Richards and Mick Jagger © Getty

The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have ‘magnanimously’ ended the 22-year royalty dispute over The Verve’s 1997 hit single ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’.

A number two smash upon its release, ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ sampled the iconic sweeping strings from the Andrew Oldham Orchestra reworking of The Rolling Stones’ 1965 song ‘The Last Time’.

Although The Verve obtained a licence to use a sample, former Rolling Stones business manager Allen Klein successfully sued the Wigan indie band claiming they used more music from ‘The Last Time’ than the licence covered.

Ultimately, although they wanted a 50/50 split, The Verve relinquished 100% of their royalty rights and the songwriting credit was changed to Jagger/Richards/Ashcroft.

In what he called “a remarkable and life affirming turn of events” and a “magnanimous gesture”, The Verve’s frontman Richard Ashcroft confirmed yesterday that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have agreed to pass all future royalties directly to him.

On top of this, they have removed their names from the songwriting credits for the song.

"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," Ashcroft said.

"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."

He added: "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. Music is power.”

Speaking to the BBC, Ashcroft insisted he never personally blamed The Stones for the royalty feud.

"I never had a personal beef with the Stones," he said. "They've always have been the greatest rock and roll band in the world."

The Rolling Stones last week announced the rescheduled tour dates for their North American No Filter Tour.

Originally due to kick off at Miami Gardens Hard Rock Stadium on 20th April, the band were forced to postpone the US and Canada trek back in March to allow Mick Jagger time to recover from heart surgery.

The newly rearranged dates will open at Chicago Soldier Field on 21st June and conclude at Miami Gardens Hard Rock Stadium on 31st August.

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