One of the U.K’s biggest selling Indie bands of the 90s!The Verve are a British rock band formed in 1989, in Wigan. Among their bigger hits you can find ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ and ‘The Drugs Don’t Work‘.
Since their first debut album, ‘A Storm In Heaven’, critics have always favoured The Verve as one of the main 90s British rock acts.
After the huge success with ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ and ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, the band broke up in 1999. Ashcroft pursued a solo career until the 2007 reunion, which had its first tour sell out in twenty minutes.
Seen by many as one of the giants of British indie music of the 90s, The Verve made a big impact on English popular culture alongside bands such as Radiohead, Blur, Oasis and Elbow.
The Drugs Don’t Work is not about illegal drugs!
‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ has had a massive reach globally. Ben Harper played it live, as a cover and it ended up on his ‘Live From Mars’ album. This enabled the song to effectively ‘break’ America for The Verve.
As the title indicates, most people would have thought that it was an anti-drug song, which it is, but not in the way we may have first believed.
Originally having the meaning that drugs didn’t work for Richard Ashcroft’s father who was dying of cancer, the song had it’s meaning slightly tweaked in order to give off a more ambiguous statement.
The Verve politics
Being one of three massive hits (including ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ and ‘Lucky Man’) off the album ‘Urban Hymns’ in 1997, The Verve managed to cross over from indie to mass market during 1998.
Interestingly enough, the band had actually split up prior to the making of ‘Urban Hymns’ which was their third record.
Luckily, Richard Ashcroft managed to quickly gather two new members and got ‘Urban Hymns’ finished.
Ashcroft pursued a solo career a few years later but he didn’t reach the same heights as the band. However in 2007, when they reunited, all seemed to fall into place again.