Tag Archives: The Verve

9 of the best – sounds of 1997

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite 9 sounds of 1997, bookended by Radiohead. There are no surprises there; I have showed some restraint by not featuring more of their work.

Radiohead – Airbag

Supergrass – Late In The Day

Yo La Tengo – Stockholm Syndrome

The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

Embrace – All You Good Good People

Pavement – Stereo

Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space

Björk – Unravel

Radiohead – Let Down

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Honourable mentions also go to: Radiohead for ‘No Surprises’; Radiohead for ‘Paranoid Android‘; Radiohead for ‘Lift‘; Supergrass ‘Richard III‘; Spiritualized ‘Broken Heart’; Yo La Tengo for ‘Autumn Sweater’, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for ‘Into My Arms‘; Daft Punk for ‘Around The World’; NuYorican Soul (featuring Jocelyn Brown) for ‘It’s Alright, I Feel It!’ and The Notorious B.I.G. for ‘Mo Money Mo Problems‘.

I realise now that four albums – classic albums – were crowding out others from my ears in 1997.

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The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony (1997)

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What can you say about the The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ that has not already been said before. The song was ubiquitous in 1997/98.  Richard Ashcroft had taken Andrew Oldham Orchestra’s strings cover of The Rolling Stones ‘Last Time’ and realised its potential by writing those sublime lyrics. The bitter sweet would follow when the Stones’ former manager Allen Klein reneged on an agreement they had with Decca and demanded 100% of the song’s royalties, stripping the Verve of their undoubted achievement.

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Richard Ashcroft – This Is How It Feels (2016)

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Richard Ashcroft

The ex-The Verve frontman’s Richard Ashcroft has a new long player These People due for release in May. The advance single ‘This is How it Feels’ certainly has the spirit of past glories. Perhaps the secret sauce is the orchestration of Will Malone, who previously worked with Ashcroft on The Verve’s multi-million selling Urban Hymns.

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Mansun – Wide Open Space (1996)

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Now I’m getting carried away … one more rock out before miscellany returns. 1997 was an astonishing year for British bands.  Radiohead, Spiritualized, The Verve, Supergrass and Prodigy would all release their defining albums – a creative nirvana that drew the best out of all those around. Mansun’s debut long player, Attack of the Grey Lantern, was one such treat. Opening with cinematic/John Barry overtures of ‘The Chad Who Loved Me’, the unconventional album built up impressively to the glory of ‘Wide Open Space’, which had been released as a single a year earlier. Paul Oakenfold would go on to chop up Paul Draper’s distinctive voice and darkly comic lyrics into a crossover dance anthem.

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Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space (1997)

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After the demise of Spacemen 3, Jason Pierce waited a while before reaching the same lauded heights. It came in 1997 with the release of the absurdly named long player Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space. The songs were written after Pierce’s separation from Kate Radley, Spiritualized’s keyboard player, who had left him for The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft. This was a good thing for music fans. Ashcroft’s new found domestic bliss brought about ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’. Pierce’s heartbreak brought about this dreamlike mix of musical styles. The title track is a perfect example. They would call this Dream Pop today. Have a great weekend.

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