The Verve were an English rock band that formed in Wigan in 1990 by lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bass guitarist Simon Jones, and drummer Peter Salisbury. Guitarist and keyboard player Simon Tong later became a member in their first reunion only.
Beginning with a psychedelic sound with their debut LP A Storm in Heaven, by the mid-1990s the band had released several EPs and three albums. It also endured name and line-up changes, break-ups, health problems, drug abuse, and various lawsuits. The band’s commercial breakthrough was the 1997 album Urban Hymns, one of the best-selling albums in UK Chart history. The album features the hit singles “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, “The Drugs Don’t Work” and “Lucky Man”. In 1998, the band won two Brit Awards—winning Best British Group, appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in March, and in February 1999, “Bitter Sweet Symphony” was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
Soon after their commercial peak, the Verve disbanded in April 1999, citing internal conflicts. According to Billboard magazine, “the group’s rise was the culmination of a long, arduous journey that began at the dawn of the decade and went on to encompass a major breakup, multiple lawsuits, and an extensive diet of narcotics”. During an eight-year split, Ashcroft dismissed talk of a reunion, saying: “You’re more likely to get all four Beatles on stage.” The band’s original line-up reunited in June 2007, embarking on a tour later that year and releasing the album Forth in August 2008, which spawned the hit single “Love Is Noise”. Amid revived tensions, the band broke up for the third time in 2008 following their final performance together at the V Festival.
Here are all of the Verve’s albums ranked.
Don’t miss out on the psychedelic sound of The Verve below! Click to enjoy the songs that became British anthems in the mid 90’s!
7. This Is Music: The Singles 92–98 (2004)
“It works well as a compilation, has all the big hits plus the most memorable moments from their early career plus a few hard to find tracks. The 2 new songs are okay. Obviously doesn’t take in the “Forth” album which would have contributed at least 2 more tracks. The track list is a bit random and one of the only real faults I’d pick out. If you have this an “Urban Hymns” you should be ok if your a casual fan. I would definitely recommend “Forth” as well.”
6. No Come Down (1994)
“This is a hit and miss collection – some of the material is forgettable and lacking in substance, some is just slightly different versions of stuff from A Storm in Heaven, and some of it is absolutely essential. This is, of course, totally acceptable for a set of b-sides and outtakes. Especially when you consider that the alternate takes on the album cuts still sound great, so the collection in mostly a strong listen, if not always essential.”
See more: Death Cab for Cutie Album Ranked
5. Verve EP (1992)
“This is the beginning of The Verve and it’s my favorite release of theirs. Before “Bitter Sweet Symphony” and the horrific lawsuit incident. The old shoegaze stuff was just dying out at the time this was released and “Britpop” was about to take over the UK. This EP catches them in the middle of that transition. Five serene blissouts that make up one of the best spaced-out EPs you’re gonna find. Some of the songs are the edited versions and they leave you wanting the psychedelic jam to go on forever. “She’s a Superstar” is one of the best (if not the best) songs in their discography.”
4. Forth (2008)
“No album by The Verve has ever been the same, including their current release Forth, with Urban Hymn no doubt being the most different … reflecting a more deeply rooted lyrical side, delivering a couple of great hits, introducing The Verve to the world, and leading to the solo career of Richard Ashcroft. Yet it is important to keep in mind that releases by The Verve are a culmination of the efforts of each member of the band, with Richard getting the lion share of attention simply because he’s the lead singer and stands as the flash point and spokesmen for the group. But without each other The Verve could never have become one of the best psychedelic bands in the world, doling out a mere four albums over the last twenty years.”
See more: Creed Albums Ranked
3. A Storm In Heaven (1993)
“Listening to this is like trying to get a stick of butter out of a pot of boiling water with chopsticks before it melts. It just keeps slipping by you until suddenly, its gone… At the same time, the hazy feedback can have the effect of drunkenly lulling the listener, making the task of fishing that butter out of the scalding, steamy water all the more difficult. Its hard to call the Verve’s debut “comforting.” It attempts to be “beautiful,” but not in a traditional sense. As “the ocean” seems to be a theme running through the record, I might liken the beauty here as not a “sunny day on a beach” or an “afternoon sailing on crystal blue waters,” but instead the strange “beauty” of the sea and sky before the hurricane hits and crushes the ship on the jagged rocks. Its the beauty of impending doom by a force that’s indifferent to the effects of what it has done.”
2. A Northern Soul (1995)
“This strikes me as one of those albums that people love when they’re young, outgrow as their musical tastes become more “sophisticated,” and then acknowledge as one of the greatest albums ever once they get tired of being pretentious little snots. As someone who’s been through all three phases with respect to lots of music (like buying Led Zeppelin Iwhen it was first released, trading it in, and then rebuying it 10 years later), let me save you the time. There’s not much out there that’s this emotionally overloaded, or with such passionate playing, especially on the part of Nick McCabe (one of the most underrated guitarists ever).”
1. Urban Hymns (1997)
“Almost perfect album from the Verve its moments of melodic psychodelia are more controlled and overall better than previous ‘Come on’ ‘Space and time’ and ‘The Rolling people’. Then there’s something new to the Verve ballads. Sonnet, Lucky Man and The Drugs don’t work are examples of stellar mentally affecting songwriting and melting guitar work. The only fault, some of the tracks would have fitted better on the bloated 2nd album than Marr Urban Hymns ‘neon wilderness, catching the butterfly and Weeping willow”