The Song: The Verve “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (1997)
The Plaintiff: ABKCO Records, publisher of “The Last Time,” written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
The Case: Brit-pop mainstays The Verve broke into the big leagues on the success of this single which took its main hook from a sample of Andrew Loog Oldham’s 1966 orchestral arrangement of The Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time.” As the song climbed the charts ABKCO Records, which owns the rights to all of The Stones 1960s recordings, filed suit saying the sample used exceeded the agreed upon usage.
The Judgment: The band settled out of court giving up not only all past and future royalties but also 100% of the songwriting credits which are now attributed to Jagger / Richards despite the fact that Verve vocalist Richard Ashcroft wrote the lyrics. To make matters even more bitter, Andrew Loog Oldham, who owned the original sound recording, sued the band soon after and the group split up by the end of the decade.
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