The cover photo was taken in Richmond Park and it was created by Charles I in the 17th century as a deer park. The largest of London’s Royal Parks, it is of national and international importance for wildlife conservation.
Urban Hymns is the third studio album by English alternative rock band the Verve, released on 29 September 1997 on Hut Records. It earned nearly unanimous critical praise upon its release, and went on to become the band’s best-selling release and one of the biggest selling albums of the year. As of 2019, Urban Hymns is ranked the 18th best-selling album in UK chart history and has sold over ten million copies worldwide. This is the only Verve album to feature guitarist and keyboardist Simon Tong, who initially joined the band to replace their original guitarist Nick McCabe. McCabe rejoined the band soon after, however, and Tong was considered the fifth member of the band; this makes the album the only one that the band recorded as a five-piece.
The album features the hit singles “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, “Lucky Man” and UK number one “The Drugs Don’t Work”. The critical and commercial success of the album saw the band win two Brit Awards in 1998, including Best British Group, and appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in April 1998. “Bitter Sweet Symphony” was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. It was also among ten albums nominated for the best British album of the previous 30 years by the Brit Awards in 2010, ultimately losing to (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis. In 2013, NME ranked it at number 128 in its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
The Verve were an English rock band formed in Wigan in 1990 by lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bass guitarist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury. Guitarist and keyboard player Simon Tong later became a member in their first reunion only.
Beginning with a psychedelic sound with their debut LP A Storm in Heaven, by the mid-1990s the band had released several EPs and three albums. They also endured name and line-up changes, break-ups, health problems, drug abuse and various lawsuits. The band's commercial breakthrough was the 1997 album Urban Hymns, one of the best-selling albums in UK Chart history. The album features the hit singles "Bitter Sweet Symphony", "The Drugs Don't Work", "Sonnet" and "Lucky Man". In 1998, the band won two Brit Awardswinning Best British Group, appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in March, and in February 1999, "Bitter Sweet Symphony" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
Soon after their commercial peak, the Verve disbanded in April 1999, citing internal conflicts. According to Billboard magazine, "the group's rise was the culmination of a long, arduous journey that began at the dawn of the decade and went on to encompass a major breakup, multiple lawsuits, and an extensive diet of narcotics". During an eight-year split, Ashcroft dismissed talk of a reunion, saying: "You're more likely to get all four Beatles on stage." The band's original line-up reunited in June 2007, embarking on a tour later that year and releasing the album Forth in August 2008, which spawned the hit single "Love Is Noise". Amid revived tensions, the band broke up for the third time in 2008 following their final performance together at the V Festival, but the band didn't disclose this information until 2009.
The founding members of the Verve met at Winstanley Sixth Form College, in Wigan, Greater Manchester, when Liam Begley introduced Richard Ashcroft to the other band members. The band was initially known as just "Verve", and their first gig was at a friend's 18th birthday party at the Honeysuckle Inn, in Wigan, on 15 August 1990. Most of the band's early material was created through extensive jam sessions. Fronted by Ashcroft, the band caused a buzz in early 1991 for their ability to captivate audiences with their musical textures and avant-garde sensibilities.
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