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The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony



Lead singer Richard Ashcroft wrote the lyrics, which are a somber look at the ennui of everyday life: "You're a slave to money, then you die." At this point in his career, Ashcroft had learned that money and happiness were not synonymous.

"People have been sold a lottery dream in life that money solves everyone's problems. Suddenly you're looking at people and you're thinking: 'I know they need X but if I give X then that relationship that should have died years ago is going to carry on and spoil.' It opens up a myriad of things that you would never normally be thinking about, responsibilities on a new level."

The famous orchestral riff incorporates a sample from an obscure instrumental version of the 1965 Rolling Stones song "The Last Time" by Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham, who included it on a 1966 album called The Rolling Stones Songbook (credited to The Andrew Oldham Orchestra). The Verve got permission to use the six-second sample from Decca Records, which owned the Oldham recording, but they also needed permission from the publisher of "The Last Time," something they didn't realize until after the album was completed.

Lyrics


'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life Tryna 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 mold Here in my mold 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 never pray 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 airways 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 mold Here in my mold 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? It's a bittersweet symphony, this life Try to make ends meet Try to find some money then you die, then you die I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down, been down You know the one that takes you to the places Where all the things meet yeah 'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life



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