From a million different people to 1 billion views: “Bitter Sweet Symphony” hits YouTube milestone

Virgin Records

The Verve‘s video for “Bitter Sweet Symphony” has hit 1 billion views on YouTube.

The clip, which features frontman Richard Ashcroft walking down a busy London street, is the latest ’90s video to join the billion views club, following the likes of Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Guns N’ Roses‘ “November Rain,” AC/DC‘s “Thunderstruck,” R.E.M.‘s “Losing My Religion,” The Cranberries‘ “Zombie” and Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ “Californication.”

“Bitter Sweet Symphony” was first released as the lead single off The Verve’s 1997 album, Urban Hymns. It peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified Gold by the RIAA on its way to becoming the English band’s signature hit. It was also memorably used in the 1999 movie Cruel Intentions.

However, the success of “Bitter Sweet Symphony” was, well, bittersweet. The Verve was sued by Allen Klein, the former manager of The Rolling Stones, over the string sample used in “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” which came from an orchestra recording of the Stones song “The Last Time.” As a result, The Verve forfeited the song’s publishing rights, and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were retroactively credited as the writers of “Bitter Sweet Symphony.”

Over 20 years later, in 2019, Jagger and Richards relinquished their songwriting credits, and the rights to “Bitter Sweet Symphony” were returned to Ashcroft.

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