The hardball business of rock and roll

The Rolling Stones Leeds University 1971  Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
The Rolling Stones Leeds University 1971 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

THE tug of war between the Rolling Stones and The Verve has been revealed in a new book.

In a new book, Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones and Transformed Rock and Roll, author Fred Goodman explains how business manager Mr Klein managed to get Mick Jagger and Keith Richards songwriting credit and full publishing rights for The Verve’s 1997 hit Bitter Sweet Symphony.

When the manager of The Verve, which features former Up Holland resident Richard Ashcroft, asked if the band could get clearance for an instrumental sample taken from the Rolling Stones’ song The Last Time, and had appeared on an album by the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra, Mr Klein pushed for more. The Verve had cleared the rights to sample the recording from Decca Records, but hadn’t got permission for the underlying composition until afterwards.

The irony was that the segment lifted from the Oldham recording didn’t even sound like the original Stones song, and the arranger who’d written the riff wasn’t even listed as a composer.

But due to hard business sense, the credits for Bitter Sweet Symphony were shared between Verve vocalist Ashcroft and Jagger and Richards and the record couldn’t be released without the permission of the Stones’ publisher, ABKCO Music.

Bitter Sweet Symphony remains one of ABKCO’s best-earning compositions and it earned Jagger and Richards a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.