- NAME: Richard Ashcroft
- OCCUPATION: Songwriter, Guitarist, Singer
- BIRTH DATE: September 11, 1971 (Age: 42)
- EDUCATION: Upholland High School, Winstanley College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Billinge, Wigan, England, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Richard Paul Ashcroft
- Nickname: Mad Richard
- AKA: Richard Ashcroft
- ZODIAC SIGN: Virgo
Best Known For
English singer-songwriter Richard Ashcroft was the lead vocalist for the Verve. After the band broke up, Ashcroft started a new band, RPA & The United Nations of Sound, in 2010.
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In 1994, the Verve released a compilation album of B-sides and outtakes, entitled No Come Down. Their 1995 follow-up album, A Northern Soul, marked the beginning of the end for the Verve. Fueled by Ecstasy and other illicit drugs, band members began turning on one another—most notably Ashcroft against McCabe. Though A Northern Soul received critical praise, it was not a commercial hit. Ashcroft broke up the band that year, citing,
"It just all got too mad. The major dispute was between me and Nick. Quite often in bands you have a duel going on—look at Liam and Noel [from the band Oasis]. Nick and I were as volatile as you can be without violence."
Shortly after the break-up, Ashcroft brought the band together again, but McCabe refused to sign on. In 1997, McCabe changed his mind and returned to the Verve, and the band released the BritPop album Urban Hymns. The album received acclaim from critics and met with commercial success internationally. Its first single, "Bitter Sweet Symphony," reached No. 2 on the U.K. music charts and No. 12 on America's Billboard charts. Controversy ensued with the hit song due to a loop taken from the Rolling Stones' single, "The Last Time." A lawsuit resulted in the Verve losing 100 percent of the royalties for "Bitter Sweet Symphony." Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were also granted songwriting credits and full publishing rights to the song.
Friction between band members resurfaced, and McCabe quit during the Verve's European and U.S. tour. Ashcroft filled in as lead guitarist, which led to unfavorable reviews. The band broke up for the second time in April 1999.
Ashcroft then embarked on a solo career, releasing 2000's Alone with Everybody, 2002's Human Conditions and 2006's Keys to the World albums.
In a surprise announcement, the Verve regrouped in 2007 (minus Simon Tong, but with former foe Nick McCabe). The band toured in 2008 and released a new album, Fourth. The reunion proved to be short-lived, as the Verve broke up for a third and final time in 2009.
In 2010, Ashcroft formed a new band, RPA & The United Nations of Sound. Their debut album, United Nations of Sound, came out in 2010. The group continues to release singles today, in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
Ashcroft dated college sweetheart Sarah Carpenter for six years, and she appeared on the cover of the Verve EP album.
In July 1995, Ashcroft married Kate Radley, the former keyboard player of the band Spiritualized. Together, they have two sons: Sonny, born in 2000, and Cassius, born in 2004. They live in Gloucestershire, England.
Ashcroft's social circle has included Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, and Oasis band members Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher. Noel once admiringly said of the Verve, "[They're] a bunch of space cadets, led by Captain Rock. They're all bonkers."
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