Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have legally returned their share of the songwriting copyright to Richard Ashcroft for the Verve's 1997 hit, “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” Stereogum.com reported the “Glimmer Twins” and the late-Allen Klein's ABKCO Records won the rights to the song two decades ago due to “Bitter Sweet Symphony” sampling the orchestral arrangement of the Rolling Stones' classic “The Last Time” as featured on the band's then-manager and producer Andrew Loog Oldham's side project, the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra.
The Verve was sued at the time by Klein, who was the Stones' early-manager and publisher of their pre-1972 material, as well as by Oldham — who maintained the Verve sampled a longer portion of the record than originally agreed too. “Bitter Sweet Symphony” was nominated for the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song, but lost out to Alanis Morissette's “Uninvited.”
Richard Ashcroft had reached out to Jagger and Richards in hopes of securing back the rights to his most enduring song, and has just issued a statement, writing:
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.
Music is power.
“The Last Time” was the first Jagger/Richards composition to ever be released as a single by the Rolling Stones. It topped the charts in England and peaked at Number Nine in the U.S.
Although hardly a conventional showbiz manager in the early-1960's, Mick Jagger remembered how Andrew Loog Oldham was able to automatically set the Stones apart from every other pop group trying to make it in London: “Andrew had this real talent for making a splash and a fuss and centering attention on you, which would've taken us a lot longer, probably, if we hadn't had someone like Andrew. And he was younger than any of us. So he had a young and very, very, irreverent attitude.”