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Released: Sept. 30, 1997

Rating: 4.023 (average of 11 ratings)

Genre: rock > Britpop

Quotable: “a rich album that revitalizes rock traditions without ever seeming less than contemporary” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Bittersweet Symphony
  2. Sonnet
  3. The Rolling People
  4. The Drugs Don’t Work
  5. Catching the Butterfly
  6. Neon Wilderness
  7. Space and Time
  8. Weeping Willow
  9. Lucky Man
  10. One Day
  11. This Time
  12. Velvet Morning
  13. Come On


sales in U.S. only 1 million
sales in U.K. only - estimated 3.05 million
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. 4 million
sales worldwide - estimated 8.05 million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 23
peak on U.K. album chart 1 12


  • Bittersweet Symphony (6/28/97) #12 US, #2 UK, #22 AR, #4 MR
  • The Drugs Don’t Work (9/13/97) #1 UK
  • Lucky Man (12/6/97) #7 UK, #16 MR
  • Sonnet (5/30/98) #74 UK


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. Brit Award for best British album of the year. Click to go to awards page. Q Magazine’s Top 100 Albums

Urban Hymns
The Verve
“Not long after the release of A Northern Soul, the Verve imploded due to friction between vocalist Richard Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe. It looked like the band had ended before reaching its full potential, which is part of the reason why their third album, Urban Hymns — recorded after the pair patched things up in late 1996 — is so remarkable. Much of the record consists of songs Ashcroft had intended for a solo project or a new group, yet Urban Hymns unmistakably sounds like the work of a full band, with its sweeping, grandiose soundscapes and sense of purpose. The Verve have toned down their trancy, psychedelic excursions, yet haven't abandoned them — if anything, they sound more muscular than before, whether it's the trippy Catching the Butterfly or the pounding Come On. These powerful, guitar-drenched rockers provide the context for Ashcroft's affecting, string-laden ballads, which give Urban Hymns its hurt. The majestic Bitter Sweet Symphony and the heartbreaking, country-tinged The Drugs Don't Work are an astonishing pair, two anthemic ballads that make the personal universal, thereby sounding like instant classics. They just are the tip of the iceberg — Sonnet is a lovely, surprisingly understated ballad, The Rolling People has a measured, electric power, and many others match their quality. Although it may run a bit too long for some tastes, Urban Hymns is a rich album that revitalizes rock traditions without ever seeming less than contemporary. It is the album the Verve have been striving to make since their formation, and it turns out to be worth all the wait” (Erlewine).

Review Source(s):

Last updated February 19, 2009.