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 songs 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-’90s!
15. Velvet Morning (Urban Hymns, 1997)
“To me this song is a combination of spiralling depression because of a relationship gone bad/not happened in the first place and there is now drug taking and the contemplation of suicide because he’s tired of life and the kicks in the teeth that come with it.”
14. Weeping Willow (Urban Hymns, 1997)
“That’s one rare, captivating and beautiful track we have here people….as for what it means, I’d rather keep an open mind. Right, for one part the lyrics may imply suicide (checkout Madtom’s bright insight to this song, like it) but the hash head did also bring about an interesting analysis of the song (backed by plausible arguments on top of it…) So one way or the other, let’s just enjoy that great track regardless of who’s right or wrong. And yes archeopteryx, I hear you…the music in itself holds such strength and richness you’d hardly heed the lyrics (don’t get me wrong, the song’s very well written as well)”
13. Catching the Butterfly (Urban Hymns, 1997)
“I think it is reliving the days which you value most, and days which you were happiest are the ones which plague your memory. Embrace those feelings and only let in the good times. It’s not letting go of what you once had”
12. She’s a Superstar (A Storm in Heaven, 1993)
“I think it’s about a relationship gone sour because he feels left behind. He’s stuck in a dark place while his love has moved on to a better life, but he doesn’t want their love to end.”
See more: The Verve Albums Ranked
11. All in the Mind (A Storm in Heaven, 1993)
“Simply put, it was a shame to see The Verve break up. All we have left are singles that are hard to get a hold of in the states. All in the Mind is worth the effort. A great ambiance single with echo guitars and Richard Ashcroft’s unique vocals.”
10. History (A Northern Soul, 1995)
“I think this is how about how he loves this woman and she loves him back but she can’t live with him because she lies a normal life where Ashcroft lives a depressed drugged up life. So she doesn’t go with him even though she loves him and he can’t understand why because he is caught up in how much he loves her and not in how bad his life is.”
9. Blue (No Come Down, 1994)
“My interpretation is that Blue is Richard’s muse with who he has a love/hate relationship. He feels her inspiration for creativity but the path to it often is a troubling one. You can also go with the drug reference and how Blue can make us all do things out of character.”
8. Love is Noise (Forth, 2008)
“Forth wasn’t the greatest album In comparison with urban hymns. But this was worth the verve getting back together in my opinion their greatest ever song.”
7. This is Music (A Northern Soul, 1995)
“It is about musical freedom, discovering your own sound and then getting off your arse to do something with that vision and then making that your all-consuming passion (or drug). A passion which ultimately led to friction in the band and the break-up of the Verve.”
6. Sonnet (Urban Hymns, 1997)
“Amazing song about a guy who loves a girl and wants her to feel the same about him. Telling her that “there’s love if you want it, don’t sound like no sonnet”, meaning that it isn’t that complicated to love him. A very emotional song with a beautiful rhythm, definitely the best song from The Verve.”
See more: Bjork Albums Ranked
5. Lucky Man (Urban Hymns, 1997)
“This song is awesome! Especially the intro. As for the meaning of the song. I think it means finally finding inner peace and a sense of happiness. Going through life trying to find happiness through someone or something else just will not cut it. Life is one big mirage of hopes and fanciful dreams perpetrated by Madison Avenue. After a while we all wise up and realize that its gotta come from within.”
4. Slide Away (A Storm in Heaven, 1993)
“My favorite verve song. I think it’s about forgetting your problems and hoping everything will be okay, Just being with the one you love and hope they love you back.”
3. Already There (A Storm in Heaven, 1993)
“I personally think it’s about the way you feel when you’re listening to the music, how it touches your soul and makes you feel disconnected from the reality… you go to the world of your dreams and memories, and then when the music stops you return to the reality in an instant. At the same time it’s so incredibly easy, you don’t need drugs or meditation to reach this state.”
2. Drugs Don’t Work (Urban Hymns, 1997)
“After listening to this song and reading the lyrics I have decided it’s a song about somebody’s wife or girlfriend or something and they are dying of cancer. The drugs that don’t work are the chemo drugs I’m guessing, cause chemo drugs make you worse as in really sick and stuff. Well that is what I think, I don’t know much.”
1. Bitter Sweet Symphony (Urban Hymns, 1997)
“The fusion of rock and symphonic music of this song is the best fusion I’ve ever heard. The best song ever I have fallen in love with the song just wish it was still like this.”