Song Lyric Sunday: I ‘ll name that tune in five!

Jim Adams.

Hi it’s Sunday and time for Jim Adam’s Song Lyric Sunday. This week our prompt is Songs with recognizable intros suggested by Clive from Take It Easy.

Our middle son was born in 1975 which puts him in the perfect age group for Brit Pop and boy did he and his mates embrace it when it exploded on to the scene. Verve and Oasis….They all travelled around following their hero’s…. They walked the walk, talked the talk sang the songs and danced the dance oh! Yes they had the haircuts!

Anyway I got to like the music too …..I had too to survive! Anyway 1997 Verve released Bitter Sweet Symphony and I loved it. I only have to hear those amazing strings on the intro to be cast back to the days of Brit Pop look alikes filling the house with music blaring.

I do think the intro is magic and definitely is up there with the most recognisable tracks like Ticket to ride, Layla, Chains and many many more.

A an aside a few years back middle son told me he and some friends were going up North to see Richard Ashcroft, having not listed properly I replied, ” That’ll be good, were you at school with him” ….he’s still laughing at me!

Bitter Sweet Symphony” is a song by the English rock band the Verve, from their third studio album, Urban Hymns (1997). It was produced by Youth and released on 16 June 1997 by Hut Recordings and Virgin Records as the album’s lead single.

“Bitter Sweet Symphony” is based on a sample from a 1965 version of the Rolling Stones song “The Last Time” by the Andrew Oldham Orchestra. The Verve added strings, guitar, percussion and vocals. They obtained rights to use the “Last Time” sample from the copyright holder, Decca Records, but were denied permission from the Rolling Stones’ former manager, Allen Klein. Following a lawsuit, the Verve relinquished all royalties and the Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were added to the songwriting credits. In 2019, after Klein’s death, Jagger, Richards and Klein’s son ceded the rights to the Verve songwriter Richard Ashcroft.

The music video features Ashcroft walking down a busy pavement in Hoxton, London, bumping into passersby. It was played frequently on music channels and was nominated for several awards. The music video was nominated for Video of the YearBest Group Video, and Best Alternative Video at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards.

“Bitter Sweet Symphony” reached number two on the UK Singles Chart, and stayed on the chart for three months. It was released in the US in March 1998 by Virgin Records America, reaching number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was named Rolling Stone and NME Single of the Year and was nominated for Best British Single at the 1998 Brit Awards. In 1999, it was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. “Bitter Sweet Symphony” is considered one of the defining songs of the Britpop era.

The Verve songwriter Richard Ashcroft heard the Andrew Oldham Orchestra version of “The Last Time” and thought it could be “turned into something outrageous”. The Verve sampled and looped four bars, then added dozens more tracks, including additional strings, guitar, percussion and several layered vocals from Ashcroft. Ashcroft said he imagined “something that opened up into a prairie-music kind of sound”, similar to the work of the Italian composer Ennio Morricone, and that “the song started morphing into this wall of sound, a concise piece of incredible pop music”. He likened the use of the sample to the golden age of hip hop: “To take something but really twist it and fuck it up into something else. Take it and use your imagination.”

The strings that open “Bitter Sweet Symphony” are not sampled; they were arranged by Wil Malone based on the melody in the sample. Malone expanded on the melody to add “bounce” and “jump”. The strings were recorded in Olympic Studios, London, and performed by a group of 24 players. Malone instructed them to “make the strings tough, determined, not pretty, not to make them poetic”. He observed that the song is built on a single chord, and likened it to Arabic music.

“Bitter Sweet Symphony” was produced by Youth at Olympic Studios. According to Youth, Ashcroft initially recorded a version with the producer John Leckie but had decided not to proceed with it; Youth persuaded him to record another version. Youth said: “It was only once we’d put strings on it that he started getting excited. Then, towards the end, Richard wanted to chuck all the album away and start again. What was my reaction? Horror. Sheer horror. All I could say was, I really think you should reconsider.”

HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYONE 💜💜

Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, that’s life
Tryna make ends meet, you’re a slave to money then you die
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places where all the veins meet, yeah

No change, I can change
I can change, I can change
But I’m here in my mold
I am here in my mold
But I’m a million different people
From one day to the next
I can’t change my mold
No, no, no, no, no
(Have you ever been down?)

Well, I’ve never prayed but tonight I’m on my knees, yeah
I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me, yeah
I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now
But the airwaves are clean and there’s nobody singin’ to me now

No change, I can change
I can change, I can change
But I’m here in my mold
I am here in my mold
And I’m a million different people
From one day to the next
I can’t change my mold
No, no, no, no, no
(Have you ever been down?)
I can’t change, oh, no
I can’t change, oh

‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, that’s life
Tryna make ends meet, tryna find somebody then you die
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places where all the veins meet, yeah

You know I can change, I can change
I can change, I can change
But I’m here in my mold
I am here in my mold
And I’m a million different people
From one day to the next
I can’t change my mold
No, no, no, no, no

I can’t change my mold
No, no, no, no, no,
I can’t change my mold, no, no, no, no
It’s just sex and violence, melody and silence
It’s just sex and violence, melody and silence
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
Been down
Ever been down
Ever been down
Ever been down
Ever been down
Have you ever been down?
Have you ever been down?
Have you ever been down?

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Keith Richards / Mick Jagger / Richard Ashcroft

Bitter Sweet Symphony lyrics © Abkco Music Inc.

23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ritu
    Nov 20, 2022 @ 07:23:30

    I can’t believe your middle son and me were born in 1975, lol! Great song choices, Sis! ❤

    Reply

  2. Clive
    Nov 20, 2022 @ 09:17:07

    A great choice. One of the best songs of its generation, even if it was ‘borrowed’ a bit 🤣

    Reply

    • willowdot21
      Nov 20, 2022 @ 09:51:02

      Yes indeed but immigration is the highest form of flattery! I thought it was a nice touch of Mick , Keith and Klien’s

      Reply

    • willowdot21
      Nov 20, 2022 @ 09:52:19

      Oops pressed published in error, any way it was good they got their royalties in the end 💜

      Reply

      • Clive
        Nov 20, 2022 @ 10:00:09

        I wondered what immigration had to do with it! Took a long legal battle for them to achieve that, and I think the fact that Klein’s son was more reasonable than his late father had some effect.

      • willowdot21
        Nov 20, 2022 @ 10:08:00

        Yes indeed, and to be honest I do feel the link is very tenuous and fair play to Verve for applying for rights in the first place

      • Clive
        Nov 20, 2022 @ 10:13:29

        They slowed it down a bit but the tune is similar, to my ears anyway. They did the right thing, and it was a shame it took twenty years to resolve. Still not my favourite track on the album, though – that’s Lucky Man 😊

      • willowdot21
        Nov 20, 2022 @ 11:03:07

        Yes that’s another good track!

  3. CARAMEL
    Nov 20, 2022 @ 10:09:21

    Such a great choice – such a great track!

    Reply

  4. newepicauthor
    Nov 20, 2022 @ 14:33:53

    I found it interesting how you learned about music from your son. You chose a very nice song Willow, but I hated the video with that idiot knocking everyone down on the sidewalk.

    Reply

  5. nostalgicitalian
    Nov 20, 2022 @ 14:48:37

    Love this song!!

    Reply

  6. pensitivity101
    Nov 20, 2022 @ 16:41:33

    Good choice Willow. One you don’t hear very often.

    Reply

  7. Christine Bolton, Poetry for Healing
    Nov 20, 2022 @ 19:06:21

    I didn’t know this song but enjoyed it and its lovely intro Willow ☺️❤️

    Reply

  8. J-Dub
    Nov 20, 2022 @ 19:15:40

    Chills everytime I hear it. What an intro! Excellent choice

    Reply

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