About Richard Ashcroft
Richard Paul Ashcroft is an English singer and songwriter. He was the lead singer and occasional rhythm guitarist of the alternative rock band The Verve from their formation in 1990 until their original split in 1999. Songs he wrote for the band include "Bitter Sweet Symphony", "Lucky Man", and the UK number one "The Drugs Don't Work". He became a successful solo artist, releasing three UK top three solo albums. The Verve reformed in 2007 but again broke up by summer 2009. Ashcroft then founded a new band, RPA & The United Nations of Sound, and released a new album on 19 July 2010. Ashcroft released his fourth solo album, These People, on 20 May 2016. Ashcroft went on to release the album “Natural Rebel” in 2018, and the compilation of acoustic versions of his best hits: “Acoustic Hymns Vol.1” in 2021.
In May 2019, Ashcroft received the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors.Chris Martin of Coldplay has described Ashcroft as "the best singer in the world".
Ashcroft was the only son of office worker Frank and hairdresser Louise Ashcroft ; he also has two younger sisters. His middle name, Paul, is also the name of a paternal uncle. When Ashcroft was 11, his father died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage. Ashcroft soon "fell under the influence of his stepfather", who belonged to the Rosicrucians.
Ashcroft attended Up Holland High School in West Lancashire, along with future bandmates Simon Jones, Peter Salisbury and Simon Tong, and then attended nearby Winstanley College, where he met Nick McCabe. His teachers referred to him as "the cancer of the class", though one member of staff recalled him being "incredibly intelligent". Ashcroft was an avid football player, playing junior football for Wigan Athletic. For some time, Ashcroft wanted to be a professional football player, idolising George Best, but as he grew older he lost interest in this, turning to music instead.
Ashcroft formed The Verve in 1990 with McCabe, Jones, and Salisbury. The band signed to Hut Records and became well known for their appetite for both psychedelic music and drugs. They also became a part of the Britpop movement. The band split in 1995, and around this time Ashcroft wrote a collection of songs he intended to release as his first solo album. However, by 1997 he had changed his mind and asked McCabe to return , reforming the Verve and releasing the very successful album Urban Hymns. Ashcroft was at the forefront of the band's popularity, receiving an Ivor Novello Award for his songwriting and being referred to by the press as "the unmistakable face of the Number One rock band in England". However, the pressures of touring and the tensions within the band led to McCabe's departure in mid-1998 and the announcement of the band's break-up in April 1999.
In early 2007, Ashcroft made peace with McCabe and Jones and the Verve's reunion was announced in June. The band played gigs later that year and continued touring in 2008, headlining at several festivals around the world. A new album, Forth, was released in August.
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