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Music singer and songwriter Richard Ashcroft picture(s)/pic(s), wallpaper and photo gallery.
Birth name: Richard Paul Ashcroft.
Born: September 11, 1971 England, UK.

Richard Ashcroft biography (bio):
Richard Paul Ashcroft is an English singer-songwriter born on September 11, 1971 in Billinge Maternity Hospital in Billinge Higher End, Lancashire (now part of the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, Greater Manchester). He is the lead singer of The Verve, an English rock band that he helped form in 1989.
The Verve suffered huge ups and downs in its first 10 years of existence, from great disappointment and lack of critical and commercial success on the band's first 2 albums (although they are now hailed by the music press and believed to be underrated) to and impressive popularity in the late 90's with the release of Urban Hymns in 1997. After problems within the members and two break-ups, the band finally demised in 1999 at their height of popularity, and Ashcroft embarked on a successful solo career. Richard released three solo albums, the last being 2006's Keys to the World. In June 2007 he and the rest of the four original members of The Verve announced their plans to get back together. They scheduled a short stadium tour for early November, which has already sold out and they started working on the new album in late July.

Early Life: 1971-1989:
Ashcroft grew up in Skelmersdale, Lancashire. His father died when Richard was 11. Ashcroft soon fell under the influence of his stepfather, who belonged to the Rosicrucians.
While in Skelmersdale, Ashcroft was an avid football player, and he still closely follows his favourite team, Manchester United. He has also admitted to cheering for Wigan Athletic, since he actually played for the youth team when he was young.

The Verve years: 1989-1999:
Ashcroft formed The Verve (although until 1994 it was named simply Verve) in 1989 with his high school friends. The band members shared a collective liking for the Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Raspberries, Funkadelic, and Krautrock, as well as a near-legendary appetite for psychedelic drugs. They were signed to Hut Records and became a critical hit soon after.
The band released the Verve EP in December 1992 before their first full-length album, A Storm in Heaven, came out in mid-1993. It was a critical smash and extremely popular in the underground public, but it failed to match that kind of success in the mainstream. Around this time the band changed their name to The Verve due to legal reasons. Afterwards they released an album with outtakes and b-sides entitled No Come Down in 1994. 1995 saw the release of the awaited album A Northern Soul. Here the band departed from the neo-psychedelic sounds of A Storm in Heaven and focused more on conventional alternative rock, although signs of their early sound are still present in the record. During this time the band was named as a member of the popular Britpop movement, mostly due to the band's friendship with Oasis rather than their music. However this second album, and more significantly the third, contained signs of infulence from other Britpop bands. Popularity increased, but album sales were somehow a disappointment for the band (although it outsold the previous record) and Ashcrodt disbanded the band for a few weeks. When he tried to re-group them, he found an unwilling Nick McCabe. So a new guitarist was needed and after months of uncertainty, Simon Tong, a friend of the band, filled in.
From autumn '96 to spring '97 the band worked on the third album. In 1997 McCabe returned, a bit more than a year after his departure. The five members finished Urban Hymns and the release was in September 1997. With the release of the first single off the album the band saw never-imagined popularity. The song Bitter Sweet Symphony turned out to be one of the greatest songs of the decade and the album, a commercial and critical hit in both sides of the Atlantic. The album is regarded as a highlight in the timeline of Britpop and rock music from the 90's, maybe being the last commercial success from alternative British acts in the US market, until the arrival of artists like Coldplay, James Blunt and others, at least 5 years later. The band toured all over the world in the period 1997-8. But Nick McCabe suddenly pulled out of the tour, being his last gig with the band in their hometown Wigan in front of 40,000 fans in 1998. The band continued several months later without Nick, until April '99, when the band decided to announce their split.

Solo Career: 1999-2007:

Alone with Everybody:
Richard Ashcroft had already been working in solo material as early as 1996 when The Verve was in hiatus after he had left after the failure of A Northern Soul. Some of his work intended for his solo career were later found in the band's next album Urban Hymns. But it was not until after the dissolution of The Verve in 1999 that he dedicated entirely to his new career.
In early 2000 he released his first single as a solo artist. "A Song for the Lovers" peaked at #3 in the UK charts in April. The song and its video were admired by the critics. The new album was named Alone with Everybody and received mixed reviews, although most positive, and it gained incredible responses from the public. A few weeks before the release, the single "Money To Burn" was out and entered the UK Top 20 at number 17. Alone with Everybody was released in June and reached number 1 and received Platinum status in the United Kingdom. In September a third single was released. "C'mon People (We're Making It Now)" entered the charts just one position away from the Top 20.

Human Conditions:
Richard started working on his next album in 2002. The new album Human Conditions counted with the collaboration of Beach Boys founder, Brian Wilson in the last track, Nature is the Law and explored very much the same sound that Richard's first record. The single "Check the Meaning" was released just a few weeks prior to the release the LP and it peaked at #11. The second single, "Science of Silence" was released in January 2003 and charted at #14. "Buy It in Bottles" was released afterwards and missed the Top 20, charting at #26. Generally the critics considered the album as a big failure for Ashcroft compared to Alone with Everybody. Most of the criticized aspects of the record were its lyrical content and overproduction, for example the extensive use of strings in most of the songs. Commercial success did not match the previous record standards and the album received very little promotion or airplay outside the UK. The album is commonly referred as an underrated album for many rock critics.

Live 8 and Keys to the World:
In July 2005 Richard returned to the public after months away from the media. He took part in the Live 8 concert in London where he sang along Coldplay his song "Bitter Sweet Symphony". Chris Martin introduced him as "the best singer in the world" when he performed the song (which Martin called "probably the best song ever written"). This made the press turn their attention back to him after years.
Ashcroft's third solo album, Keys to the World, was recorded with the co-operation of the London Metropolitan Orchestra, and released on January 23, 2006, by Parlophone. The first single from the album, "Break the Night with Colour", was released on January 9, 2006, and entered the UK Singles Chart at number 3. Around the time of the album's release, Ashcroft announced his largest UK tour for years for May 2006, culminating in three nights at London's Brixton Academy. He opened for the second half of Coldplay's tour, starting March 14, 2006, in Ottawa. The second single released was "Music Is Power", which charted at number 20.
In 18 April he recorded a the Live from London EP, the ninth in a a series of EPs released exclusively as digital downloads from Apple's iTunes Store. The EP was released just 6 days later on the 24th. Richard hinted a probable release of a new version of the song "C'mon People (We're Making It Now)" to coincide with England's participation in the 2006 Football World Cup. The single (entitled C'mon England by Richard in an interview in May) never materialized. Instead, the next single was "Words Just Get in the Way", which charted lower than the previous, barely making it into the Top 40 at the number 40 position after receiving barely any promotion or airplay. In December the double a-side single "Why Not Nothing" / "Sweet Brother Malcolm" was released in limited size editions.
He recorded a live performance for Live From Abbey Road on 11th December 2006. The episode that he shared with Norah Jones and John Mayer was aired in the UK on Channel 4 in March 2007 and in the USA on the Sundance Channel in June 2007.

The Verve reunion: 2007-present:
It was announced on Richard's official site that after 8 years since their acrimonious split, The Verve have reformed. They are to release an album which will coincide with a tour in November 2007. The tour starts in Glasgow on the 2nd November, and will include 6 performances across the UK, at The Glasgow Academy, The Empress Ballroom and the London Roundhouse. In a statement the band said they were "getting back together for the joy of the music". The six shows sold out in an impressive 20 minute record.

Personal life:
Ashcroft is married to Kate Radley, the former keyboard player for British shoegaze band Spiritualized. Together, they have two sons: Sonny, born in 2000, and Cassius, born in 2004.
He is good friends with Oasis' Noel Gallagher and Coldplay's Chris Martin (whom Ashcroft once thanked for "letting me be myself again"), and occasionally plays as support at Oasis and Coldplay concerts, including the European and second UK legs of Coldplay's 'Twisted Logic Tour'. He recently described himself as "the best support act you'll ever see." The Gallagher brothers for a long time have expressed the greatest of respect to Ashcroft and the Oasis track "Cast No Shadow", included in the successful album 1995 (What's the Story) Morning Glory? is dedicated to him, and it is believed that Ashcroft dedicated The Verve's 1995 song "A Northern Soul" to Gallagher as a response.

Controversy:
On more than one occasion, Ashcroft and his bandmates have run into trouble by borrowing words and ideas from other artists. The most notable of these conflicts spawned from The Verve's biggest hit, "Bitter Sweet Symphony", which uses the Andrew Oldham Orchestra recording of The Rolling Stones' 1965 song "The Last Time" as its foundation. In a well-publicized legal decision, the Rolling Stones' record company was awarded 100 percent of the royalties from "Bitter Sweet Symphony", and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were given songwriting credits along with Ashcroft. Legal ownership of the song created further controversy when Jagger and Richards gave Nike, Inc. license to use the song in one of its TV commercials, against The Verve's wishes. Another of Ashcroft's more well-known adaptations is found in the song "History". The first two verses of "History" are closely based on the first two stanzas of William Blake's poem "London".
Ashcroft is also known for his problems regarding drugs. These were evidenced several times since the 1990s. Some examples of this are his 1994 summer tour collapses due to ecstasy overdose. He and the band were known for their heavy drug use, especially in the early and mid 90's.
In 2006, Ashcroft confessed to taking Prozac to help him with clinical depression, but said that they didn't help, referring to the pills as "very, very synthetic." Ashcroft has said that he's always been "a depressive, someone who suffers from depression", and that music and creativity help him cope with his illness.
In 2006 he was was arrested in Wiltshire after coming into a youth centre and asking to work with the teenagers present at the club. He refused to leave and employees called the police, resulting in Ashcroft being arrested and fined 80 for disorderly conduct.
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