Flying Solo: Richard Ashcroft, The Verve

Toronto – With the 2010 successes of Brandon Flowers (of the Killers), Julian Casablancas (of the Strokes) and Kele (of the Bloc Party), it would seem that flying solo is more enticing then ever. With that in mind, I have decided to take a look at previous members of successful bands that have gone the same route, and where they ended up. Welcome to my new never-ending sporadic posting series called Flying Solo. Today we will take a look at one Richard Ashcroft, the man behind the band The Verve.

Richard Ashcroft

Band: The Verve
Went Solo:: 2000
Any reason?: It appears that The Verve have always been on shaky ground, mainly due to the relationship between him and Nick McCabe. The band had previously broken up in 1995. They broke up again in 1999, and Richard started preparing material for his solo album that same year.

Solo Career
Richard’s solo career started off on a solid note, as the lead single Song For Lovers charted quite well in many places. This is my favorite Richard Ashcroft song. It’s got amazing string work. Subsequent singles and albums were released to declining success. Primarily, because they weren’t any good. I think all britpop bands died an agonizingly slow death in the 2000s and Richards career was no exception. Richard has released four albums, including United Nation of Sound earlier this year under the new name of RPA & The United Nations of Sound.

Perhaps marred by the lack of solo success, or just the fact that he mellowed out, Richard Ashcroft and Nick McCabe made amends and reformed the Verve in 2007. A worldwide tour followed, including one stop in Toronto, allowing me to personally see one of my favorite bands from the 90s. A headline gig at Glastonbury followed, but all momentum for the reformed Verve was derailed when Fourth, their newly recorded album, failed to meet the high standard of quality that the previous albums had set. They would break up again in 2009.

In conclusion, you could say Richard’s solo career was a a disappointment considering the tour-de-force that the Verve was. If anything, Richard’s lack of success makes Nick McCabe (the other notable driving force in the Verve) look even better. I’m still glad he had the decency to reform the band back in 2007 so for that, I’ll be eternally grateful.

Here is his first single

Richard Ashcroft – Song For Lovers (Prod/Mix) by ZManagement

Just for kicks, I’m going to rate his solo career:

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Posted on by Ricky in Flying Solo

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

4 Responses to Flying Solo: Richard Ashcroft, The Verve

  1. preciousstone

    What success has Nick McCabe had? Some very minor remix collaborations. He’s supposed to have been working on the Black Ships release since Forth. He needs Ashcroft’s drive to goad him into doing anything.

  2. Mark

    Yes, Nick needs Richard and vice versa. It’s a real pity they can’t work it out – the Verve are one of the true greats in my opinion.

    I just heard some of what Nick and Simons’ project ‘The Black Ships’ is doing, and it’s all ambient, weird stuff. The comment above it right: Richard on his own is too fancy, too many strings, too much perfection (think United Nations of Sound) and they both need each other to actually achieve anything decent.

    I am still hopeful we get a fifth album from them some day. Although I am currently enjoying Exit Calm who equally brilliant. Looking forward to their future.

  3. Timothy Alan Lamb

    Firstly I should make clear I am a major Verve fan, though sadly I never saw them perform live.

    Secondly, I’m going to restrict my comments here to Richard’s solo album “Human Conditions.”

    A purchased this album expecting decent but ultimately bland Verve. It’s not. What I got was a fantastic, soulful, heartfelt album about life, love, weakness, and personal growth. Frankly I do not understand why this record is more widely appreciated.

    While every track on the album is solid (no throw-away tracks like are often found on XTC and the Church records which should never have made it onto otherwise excellent albums) you must check out “Science of Silence,” “God in the Numbers,” and “Lord I’ve Been Trying,” to name but three.

    Please do yourself a favor and obtain this amazing solo effort. Listen it to it three times on different days, then come back to this website and tell me what you think!


  4. Timothy Alan Lamb

    Pardon me but forgot to edit: should be I instead of A, and “not” before “more widely appreciated.” thanks!

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