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The Rolling Stones finally allow "Bittersweet Symphony" writer to get his royalties

Photo: Simone Joyner (Getty Images)

Today in happy news that is still tinged with a faint sense of sadness (is there a word for that?), NME is reporting that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have released their control of the rights to The Verve’s hit “Bittersweet Symphony” and given them back to songwriter Richard Ashcroft. This all comes from the fact that the song uses a sample from an orchestral version of the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time” that wasn’t properly cleared when “Bittersweet Sympony” was initially released, and Ashcroft was forced to sign away the rights and royalties—which he believes to be “many million dollars”—from the song after a legal battle. He has fought that for years, most recently in 2018, but now he has announced that Jagger and Richards have agreed to hand over “their share” of “Bittersweet Symphony,” granting Ashcroft “all their royalties derived from the song.”

Jagger and Richards also agreed to remove their names from the songwriting credits, but Variety says that they still control the song and its publishing rights. That means Ashcroft can get all of the money from it, but it’s still up to Jagger and Richards to decide what to do with “Bittersweet Symphony” in the future. That seems like a fair compromise, considering that the Rolling Stones probably have millions of dollars already and also “Bittersweet Symphony” sounds a whole lot like “The Last Time,” but at least the guy who wrote “Bittersweet Symphony” can finally start living off of that Cruel Intentions money.

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