This Saturday, September 11, Richard Ashcroft turns 50. That 26-year-old boy who in 1997 and with a good stretch of career already traveled, made his entrance to the major leagues at the helm of The Verve and with the help of Bittersweet Symphony, will cross the barrier of half a century of life, with a few already lived.
In fact, the success of the bittersweet symphony, translated into great sales, a biggest call and a couple of Grammy Awards, does not seem to have helped much to promote an even greater growth of the band, which a couple of years later ceased to exist, in the face of its leader’s confrontations with guitarist Nick McCabe.
But far from immobilizing him, the dissolution of The Verve opened the doors for Ashcroft towards a solo period that began with the release of Alone with Everybody, an album that reached number 1 on the charts, and was followed by Human Conditions, in which had the collaboration of Beach Boys Brian Wilson; something like the dream of the kid.
Richard Ashcroft passed through Buenos Aires in 2016, to perform at the Personal Fest. Photo Rolando Andrade Stracuzzi
Over time, Ashcroft would complete half a dozen solo productions, while consolidated its condition of unavoidable reference from that common space in which alternative rock, neo-psychedelia, brit pop and some other style cultivated under the protection of the ’90s and’ 00s drink.
Now, the musician, considered by many of his peers as one of the best singers who are exhibiting their skills out there, will gather a good part of the most successful of that harvest in Acoustic Hymns Vol. 1, where the different stages of his solo career will coexist with his times at The Verve.
But it’s impossible to talk about it without mentioning that the 12-track album features his friend and former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher on C’mon People (We’re Making It Now), which dates back to the late ’90s, when Richard played the song to the singer from Supernova Champagne, in Mallorca in 1998.
Plus, those who pre-order the album will get a free instant credit for the remake of The Verve’s iconic hit. Bittersweet Symphony.
After working on the new cut in 2019, Richard took back the rights to the song, which features a four-second sample of an orchestral version by Andrew Loog Oldham of the Rolling Stones song. The Last Time. reason for which the control of the rights of the subject had happened by a few pesos to the tandem Mick Jagger-Keith Richards.
Question of rights
Although permission for the recording was obtained, it had not been clear if the permission for the use of the song had also been franked, and therefore at the time of its release, in 1997, given the certainty that it had not been, Richard was forced to give up all rights to the iconic track, including the total lyrical content.
However, after Jagger and Richards agreed to the return of the rights, Ashcroft has been able to win the royalties that the track grants again. Also included is a full version of This Thing Called Life, which was recorded with American hip-hop and R&B music producer No ID for Richard’s RPA & The United Nations Of Sound album in 2010.
The album is co-produced by Richard and Chris Potter and has his band live, plus string arrangements conducted by Will Malone recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, with the addition of Chuck Leavell on piano, Roddy Bloomfield leading the brass section, and Steve Wyreman on acoustic guitar and backing vocal arrangements.
Richard Ashcroft recreates his musical history in acoustic format. Photo by Rolando Andrade Stracuzzi
Acoustic Hymns Vol. 1 will be released on October 29 and is now available for pre-order. Meanwhile, the singer will hold a series of live acoustic concerts of his classics, including two sold-out shows at the iconic London Palladium, on October 16 and 17.
In addition, it will give a show at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool on October 29 and will crown with a Royal Albert Hall with tickets also already sold out, next November 1.
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Richard Ashcroft to release acoustic compilation, with Liam Gallagher as guest