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The Verve — Bitter Sweet Symphony
Album: Urban Hymns
Avg rating:
7.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 5393









Released: 1997
Length: 5:53
Plays (last 30 days): 2
'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet, you're a slave to the 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 mould, I am here in my mould
But I'm a million different people from one day to the next
I can't change my mould, no, no, no, no, no

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 singing to me now

No change, I can change, I can change, I can change
But I'm here in my mould, I am here in my mould
And I'm a million different people from one day to the next
I can't change my mould, no, no, no, no, no

Have you ever been down?
I can't change it you know, I can't change it

'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet, trying to find some 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

You know I can change, I can change, I can change, I can change
But I'm here in my mould, I am here in my mould
And I'm a million different people from one day to the next
I can't change my mould, no, no, no, no, no
I can't change my mould, no, no, no, no, no
I can't change my mould, no, no, no, no, no

You've got to change my mould, no, no, no
(It's just sex and violence, melody and silence)
(Gotta, can't change my violence, melody and silence)
(Gotta, can't change my violence, melody and silence)

(I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down)
(Gotta, can't change my violence, melody and silence)
(I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down)
(Gotta, can't change my violence, melody and silence)

(Been down)
(Ever been down)
(Can't change my violence, melody and silence)
(Ever been down)
(Ever been down)
(Ever been down)

(Have you ever been down?)
(Have you ever been down?)
(Have you ever been down?)
(Have you ever been down?)
(Have you ever been down?)
Comments (633)add comment
Love a Stones tune.
8 -> 9
Great music video and great at the end of the motion picture "Cruel Intentions", punctuating the consequences of Sara Michelle Gellar's character actions.

I went back and listened to the andrew oldham orchestra "the last time", and wow its this song! Somebody for Verve messed up with permissions big time. 
Every time I hear this I just feel happy...
Vivaldi to To The Verve

#I see what you did there
Here's hoping for that 'Bitter Taste' track by Billy Idol coming next...
and the answer is...
Nope! I'm wrong, again! .
('Heaven' - Rolling Stones - of course)
Excellent tune from an outstanding album
Urban legend - A DJ at 99X FM in Atlanta had some sort of breakdown and locked himself in the broadcast booth and played this sone over and over and over for about 30 minutes.



Remembering Atlanta's 30-Minute "Bittersweet Symphony" Radio Marathon of 1997 - SPIN
i am sooooo old
 CCSandman wrote:

Time is still kind on this track - was played to death upon release and thereafter - still brilliant




I agree!! Even better in FLAC w/ great studio phones, amp & DAC!  
Time is still kind on this track - was played to death upon release and thereafter - still brilliant
Wow, brings tears to my eyes, remembering our Expat Gang on the cafe patio in the koi garden of the big uni during lunches, where we gathered to eat the omakase sashimi and unagi kabayaki and drink the Kirin Ichiban-shibori that made the rest of the day go infinitely better! I often had this album playing on a portable speaker. Sitting among the tsutsuji, tsubaki and momiji, looking between the rows of towering hinoki and keyaki over at the snow-cone of Fuji-san, damn, it felt like Life just couldn't get better...and 10 YEARS went by there!
 bowerp64 wrote:
 
 
50/50 actually seems pretty fair
 kingart wrote:

Thanks for posting the link. I had tried to look up the source some time ago but never found it. For those interested it’s an Andrew Oldham Orchestra interpretation of The Last Time by the Stones. No question the sample is from that song but it’s interesting that the main riff/sample sounds virtually nothing like the song it’s supposed to be. There is an identifiable section of the orchestras song that does sound like the chorus of the Stones song but I just thought it was interesting.
 xray38 wrote:


From what I've read, they struck a 50/50 deal for profits until it became a hit, then they (Stones/Lawyer) went after it all. Because, you know, the Stones needed the money.
 
Hey, that might not be entirely accurate assessment. All royalties now go to Verve for this song. You should listen to the original "stolen" song. It's all available here:
'Bitter Sweet Symphony' Credits And Royalties Given Back To The Verve By Jagger, Richards : NPR
To my uneducated ear, it sounds like the Verve took a helluva lot more than a few notes of the original Oldham/Stones tune....
 dragon1952 wrote:
Sonny Bono resurrected {#Yes}
 

 Mannick wrote:
I'm halfway between "guilty pleasure" and "this song has nothing to it other than four bars that are not even Coldplay's work and a very very linear voice line".
So... 6?
 Misplaced comment, belonging to next Coldplay track Strawberry Swing?

 Mannick wrote:
I'm halfway between "guilty pleasure" and "this song has nothing to it other than four bars that are not even Coldplay's work and a very very linear voice line".
So... 6?
 
ugh. me like. 8
I'm halfway between "guilty pleasure" and "this song has nothing to it other than four bars that are not even Coldplay's work and a very very linear voice line".
So... 6?
I'm wondering how many people have this played at their funeral?
Imagining Deadheads dancing and twirling to this. Got me moving in my chair here in front of my puter.
 clads98 wrote:
From one the best albums of all time.
 
For sure a Desert Island Disc for some people.
Super Solid IMHO.
I am not addicted this song but this song is addicted to me. Is this song for an ordinary man like öe?
Done.To.Death.
From one the best albums of all time.
 Rockit9 wrote:
you're a slave to the money, then you die... (one of the best lyric ever)
 
People that are slaves to money because they have no choice, I understand. People that choose to be slaves to money , I'll never understand. 
7. Then I read the lyrics. 8.
more from this album please!
Right after a Stones tune .... I get it!
 Rockit9 wrote:
you're a slave to the money, then you die... (one of the best lyric ever)
 
so true. and thankfully The Verve has made soooooo much $$$$$$
you're a slave to the money, then you die... (one of the best lyric ever)
"I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me"  That would be one powerful addiction.
 BCarn wrote:

Holy crap! I had no idea. Just listened to that orchestral version.
 

From what I've read, they struck a 50/50 deal for profits until it became a hit, then they (Stones/Lawyer) went after it all. Because, you know, the Stones needed the money.
 phlattop wrote:
that's good to hear. I read somewhere that Ashcroft reached out to Keith and Mick when this started. Mick was sympathetic but said he couldn't help due to legal reasons (i.e. Allen Klein)


kingart wrote:
 

 
Holy crap! I had no idea. Just listened to that orchestral version.
 Buffalocarl wrote:
I hear Sonny & Cher.
 
Better see a doctor then!
Overplayed, but a timeless classic
With the copyright issues The Verve faced with this song, the title is highly ironic now. 
Wow ! Another great RP tune Love it
 halcatus wrote:
fuh2 wrote:
Backscroll. Actually the R. Stones own it now because the strings reverse loop part was sampled from the Stones. The Stones leased it for commercials. Maybe the Beatles should take back their song "I wanna be your man" they let the Stones use to get a start.
Stones? I thought their shifty ex lawyer/manager Robert Klein stiffed them for the rights to the Stones' early stuff. Thought he was the one that went after the Verve and not only got every penny they made off this... but pulled a few more pennies (@ 60 %) from the Verve's other material off this album. Then took the whole bag back down to Hell where he spends most of his alone time. Mistaken?
 
Allen B. Klein, founder of Abkco Records - not Robert Klein the comedian.
that's good to hear. I read somewhere that Ashcroft reached out to Keith and Mick when this started. Mick was sympathetic but said he couldn't help due to legal reasons (i.e. Allen Klein)


kingart wrote:
 

Nothing quite like listening to this song at a terrible desk job where you feel like nothing but a cog in the machine...
I dont like this song, has a feeling pressure to do that I dont want to do with this song… ugly as hell
Please stop playing this overly burnt song.
still one of my all time favorites... brings back old memories 😁 but what's up with the low res cover art?
 nevar23 wrote:
One of my all time fav songs. The older I get, the higher my rating on this song goes.
 

You probably can’t change your mould! ;-)
 cely wrote:
Why, exactly, is this song so good?  The lyrics aren't particularly compelling.  The music is layered in a nice way, but that's true of a lot of well-engineered music.  The only thing I can think is that there's a kind of slow. methodical urgency in the music that's just rare.
 

I lack the music-theoretical vocabulary, but I like very much the contradicting melodies of the background and voice lines. That's also true for a lot of songs, but here it works particularily well, I think.
 shakitten wrote:
jbtidwell wrote:
You are recognizing the sample they took from the Rolling Stones "The Last Time" - it ended very badly for The Verve... (click here) It really sucks, like the Rolling Stones ever need to make another dime!
Yeah, I lost respect for The Stones on this. Sure, you DO need to let the Verve squirm a little for breaking ethics and stealing, but do you really need to totally break the band in the process? I just think there could have been a better compromise. That's my 2 cents worth.
 
Don't lose respect for The Stones... see comments regarding Allen Klein instead.
I hear Sonny & Cher.


'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony.

 cely wrote:
Why, exactly, is this song so good?  The lyrics aren't particularly compelling.  The music is layered in a nice way, but that's true of a lot of well-engineered music.  The only thing I can think is that there's a kind of slow. methodical urgency in the music that's just rare.
 

Why, exactly, is this song so good?  The lyrics aren't particularly compelling.  The music is layered in a nice way, but that's true of a lot of well-engineered music.  The only thing I can think is that there's a kind of slow. methodical urgency in the music that's just rare.
Kind of bittersweet that Allen Klein has been dead for nine years.
 ziggytrix wrote:

That's a slight misconception. Jagger and Richards got their names added to the songwriting credit, but it was their old manager Allen Klein who made off with the profits since he owned all their music from before '70.

 
That's correct. Jagger & Richards got nothing from that lawsuit. It was an Allen Klein production all the way.
 vanillagorilla wrote:
Was overplayed back then...like it now..I heard somewhere that all royalties went to Jagger/Richards as it was a melody they wrote...like they need any money from this popular tune

 
That's a slight misconception. Jagger and Richards got their names added to the songwriting credit, but it was their old manager Allen Klein who made off with the profits since he owned all their music from before '70.
Answer the damn phone.
One of my all time fav songs. The older I get, the higher my rating on this song goes.
The singer sounds like he's sick. This song always made me feel kinda sick too. Just got played again... r-r-r-r-ralph!
Gosh, I STILL love hearing this.... some things never grow old.
Beautiful but played WAY to much.
 
Hear this way way too much. Plus it's not that good to begin with. Please stop?
 Jakethemuss wrote:

Annoying video as well.  If he walked over the bonnet (or hood maybe) of my car I'd pursue him for damages via the appropriate channels.  Good manners don't cost anything.

 
......hhhmmmmmm - should someone explain here that music videos DO NOT relay real live?? {#Stupid}
Naaaaahhhhhhh...here ignorance is bliss! {#Iamwithstupid}
 greiffenstein wrote:
I don't understand the fascination with this song.  Bland melody, uninspired lyrics, flat voice.  It's like a slice of white bread.  Now it's stale white bread. 

 
Annoying video as well.  If he walked over the bonnet (or hood maybe) of my car I'd pursue him for damages via the appropriate channels.  Good manners don't cost anything.
I don't understand the fascination with this song.  Bland melody, uninspired lyrics, flat voice.  It's like a slice of white bread.  Now it's stale white bread. 
Was overplayed back then...like it now..I heard somewhere that all royalties went to Jagger/Richards as it was a melody they wrote...like they need any money from this popular tune
Three times in 30 days? Enough for a while.
More then...
Banda.sonora.de.mi vida...
Sound track of my life ...
Sonny Bono resurrected {#Yes}
 TravelRat wrote:
Fun memories attached to this song...{#Boohoo}{#Cheers}

 

No kidding. Takes me back to a Summer many moons ago...an unlimited Eurail pass, the French countryside flicking by my window and on to the next adventure...ahhh. 


I love the video too! {#Yes}
It's a bittersweet symphony.Jein ?
Perfect song for Throwback Thursday!  Rewinding in 3....2...1...
"Best song Jagger and Richard wrote in 20 years."

it just drones on and on 


Excellent piece of music.
 TravelRat wrote:
Fun memories attached to this song...{#Boohoo}{#Cheers}

 
Totally agree, a song from a great period in life!
Fun memories attached to this song...{#Boohoo}{#Cheers}
 TomJB wrote:
{#Sunny}

 
yes, very nice song!
{#Sunny}
One of my life time favourite

 
 aspicer wrote:
Brilliant tune.  They totally nailed this...

2 Cents:  ridiculous Stones pursued them for part of the song that has their riff that is not really even audible...give the underdogs a break?! 

 
Scroll down a little in this thread; it's been clarified many, many times already.
Richard Ashcroft is pretty good at giving a really simple song an anthem like quality. Lucky Man is the same.
 aspicer wrote:
Brilliant tune.  They totally nailed this...

2 Cents:  ridiculous Stones pursued them for part of the song that has their riff that is not really even audible...give the underdogs a break?!

 

 
Not exactly true.
Brilliant tune.  They totally nailed this...

2 Cents:  ridiculous Stones pursued them for part of the song that has their riff that is not really even audible...give the underdogs a break?!

 
 h8rhater wrote:

Ears not working too well, eh? 

Maybe some musical training for them WOULD be useful.

 
I know "The Last Time" by the Stones very well and I've listened to the Andrew Oldham Orchestra many, many times and i can barely tell that it's the same song... are you actually saying that you can clearly hear (and, let's say, sing the lyrics to) the Stones version of The Last Time in the Oldham version?
 kingart wrote:

Sounds like someone got a dose of My Sweet Lord itis. It could be my unmusically trained ears, but although I can "hear" that Stones tune, I can't HEAR it all that blatantly. 

 
Ears not working too well, eh? 

Maybe some musical training for them WOULD be useful.
Geil!!!!!!
 Relayer wrote:
This is a quality song, and it is a shame that their producer/record company were too stupid to credit the Stones, and as a result the band was punished harshly. 

I don't expect a bunch of young musicians to really know their way around copyrights, but he producer and record company should have known better.

 
Lots of misinformation about that lawsuit posted here. It wasn't about a failure to properly credit anyone, and they weren't sued by 'The Stones".  The Wikipedia article has the correct story.
 Catalytic wrote:
The overuse of the looping violins has me dropping it a point just about each time I hear it. It's down to a "2" now...

  

lewie221 wrote:

Yep. Once you notice it, you can't ignore it.

I quite liked this track until you pointed that out!

 
Oh no!!!!.... When this song started up, I was asking myself why - although I like it a lot - it always depresses me. And then I started reading listeners' comments, and realised what depresses me. It's that constant repetition of a lovely musical phrase that cycles over and over, endlessly ... world without end. And I feel sad. Good thing I never even listened to the lyrics. I might go and jump off a bridge.
 hempmandan wrote:
OMG where is that like button? Better yet that LMFAO button....well played sir


 
thatslongformud wrote:
I can't change my Moe!


 


  {#Clap}

OMG where is that like button? Better yet that LMFAO button....well played sir


 
thatslongformud wrote:
I can't change my Moe!


 

I can't change my Moe!

 yofitofu wrote:
What a shame the band never saw one penny of royalties from this song after the Stones sued them - for sampling tracks off a  Andrew Oldham Orchestra recording of the Stones "The Last Time".

Here's what they supposedly stole - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKC5cdGBY04
 

 
Sounds like someone got a dose of My Sweet Lord itis. It could be my unmusically trained ears, but although I can "hear" that Stones tune, I can't HEAR it all that blatantly. 
Lost them completely these days.  Can't bear the fake accent.  The bloke's a northerner.
Again?! You only need to play this once a year, that sampled violin riff repeats enough times to cover all 365 days in one go.
So Utterly, Utterly Boring!!
{#Stop}
 Catalytic wrote:
The overuse of the looping violins has me dropping it a point just about each time I hear it. It's down to a "2" now...

 
Yep. Once you notice it, you can't ignore it.

I quite liked this track until you pointed that out!
This is a quality song, and it is a shame that their producer/record company were too stupid to credit the Stones, and as a result the band was punished harshly. 

I don't expect a bunch of young musicians to really know their way around copyrights, but he producer and record company should have known better.
In the video, the singer keeps on bumping into people, acting like a total jerk, hurting everyone who gets in his way.  "I can't change, I can't change, no, I can't change ... yeah, I'm here in my mode."  In my experience, life gets sweeter, but only if we are willing to change. Great song, though.
The overuse of the looping violins has me dropping it a point just about each time I hear it. It's down to a "2" now...
 RandomousJam wrote:
After legal actions, songwriting credits for this song were changed to Jagger/Richards/Ashcroft, and 100% of royalties go to the Rolling Stones. Despite the fact that the use of the background loop (Andrew Oldham Orchestra) had been negotiated.

Bitter Sweet is about right.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitter_Sweet_Symphony

 
Read your link; royalties go to Allen B. Klein, owner of ABKCO Records and owner of pre-1970 Rolling Stones material.
*yawn*
X-cellent! :-)
Great, great song.  I've always wonder about the video, though, in which the lead singer keeps on walking into people and generally acting like a self-absorbed jerk to everyone.  Is that why his life is bittersweet?
I don't know what it is about this song (and this album) but sweet Jesus I love it. If it weren't for Gimme Shelter and Girl with the faraway eyes it would have turned me against the Stones. Oh, mustn't forget Sympathy for the Devil.
Evergreen. Soullifting. Best song they ever made :-)
Youth (Martin Glover) produced a gem here. Whatever anyone may think of The Verve, this is a masterpiece in production that made its mark during a time when something like it was sorely needed.
RP, it's probably not up your alley, but Killing Joke was such a huge influence on so much (besides that of Youth) that is would be nice to see something represented here.
Youth is (no doubt) represented here via The Orb's "Big Fluffy Clouds", but that's not quite Killing Joke... haha! ;-)~
I've never understood the appeal of this one. It comes in with a great riff (borrowed, apparently, but whatever) and sounding like it's going to go somewhere incredible, and then it never goes anywhere, just repeats the same riff again and again. And again. And again. And again...

Plus, it's been horribly overexposed, which when you consider that that riff is looped about 100 times on a single playing, is just too many times.

Would much rather hear The Drugs Don't Work, for instance. Or indeed some Spiritualized or MBV.. why is there hardly any Spiritualized on RP?
 
After legal actions, songwriting credits for this song were changed to Jagger/Richards/Ashcroft, and 100% of royalties go to the Rolling Stones. Despite the fact that the use of the background loop (Andrew Oldham Orchestra) had been negotiated.

Bitter Sweet is about right.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitter_Sweet_Symphony


David Gray "Babylon", Marvin Gaye "What's Going On?" and now this.

Excellent, excellent set. 
 Rh wrote:
Excellent song! Great production,
so true..... 
 
.......... totally agree
 phlattop wrote:
I read somewhere that they approached Mick and Keith about the songwriting credit when they got nowhere with the Stones' lawyers. Mick and Keith's hands were tied so they abided by the law.

rdo wrote:


I disagree.  If I were on the jury, I would have sided against the Verve too.  They just need to get permission, that's all it takes.   This is a good song, but credit has to be given when and where it is due.
 
 
 



 
I read jagger runs the stones like the CEO of a corp...more power to him imho
Excellent song! Great production,
so true..... 
 Gollum wrote:
It's a good song, but when I heard the rest of the album I was very disappointed. The Verve is a one-hit wonder.

 
That is absolutely absurd.  You obviously are not familiar with the The Verve at all. That is fine if you do not like them, but to call them a one hit wonder is laughable. They have been very successful for many years for those with a taste for their prog rock focus.  They are exceptional musicians and one of the best bands of the past 20 years IMHO.  I happen to find this album very good, with their earlier work even better - exceptional often times.  Just need to set the record straight on this one!
It's a good song, but when I heard the rest of the album I was very disappointed. The Verve is a one-hit wonder.
big stud Romeo Tuma wrote:
sublime...  and the music resonates...  the video is pretty dang good, too...
 

I be the holy ghost of big stud Romeo Tuma...  yes, the original video for this marvelous song is dang good...
 
Quick, issue another royalty check to the Rolling Stones. Keith Richards needs to pay his library fines!