Richard Ashcroft "brutally endured" losing the rights to his track 'Bitter Sweet Symphony'.

Richard Ashcroft

Richard Ashcroft

The 47-year-old singer and songwriter penned the famous track over 20 years ago for his band The Verve, which used a four second sample of an Andrew Loog Oldham orchestral cover of The Rolling Stones song 'The Last Time'.

Whilst permission for the recording was obtained, permission for use of the song was not, and so at the time of its release in 1997, Richard was forced to give up all the rights to the iconic track, including the total lyrical content.

He has finally regained the rights to the track after his team appealed to Rolling Stones members Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards directly, and his manager John Kennedy has insisted that he and fellow manager Steve Kutner "nearly cried" because it meant "absolute affirmation it was wholly" his "creative work".

He told Billboard: "Songwriters often talk about their songs as if they are their children and to have one of your children taken away from you has been brutal for Richard.

"He has endured it, not always patiently or in silence, but it has been terrible for him."

"Steve and I nearly cried because we knew what this would mean: absolute affirmation that 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' was wholly Richard's creative work."

The pair have agreed to give Richard back the song to the extent it is within their power to do so, meaning all future royalties made from the track will go to Richard.

But more importantly, Mick and Keith have said they no longer require a writing credit for 'Bitter Sweet Symphony', as they acknowledge that as far as they are concerned, the song belongs to Richard.

As proof of their newly formed bond, The Rolling Stones invited Richard to support them at their huge outdoor shows in Manchester and Edinburgh last year, making him the only artist to join them at more than one show during their 2018 European tour.