As was Richard Ashcroft’s captivating performance in the song’s video, which got the band massive exposure in the 90’s (appropriate, since it was based on Massive Attack’s 1991 Unfinished Sympathy video). Richard Ashcroft walks down a road, he will not move or change course or acknowledge anyone else. He moves through danger, oblivious because he’s really in his own mind. The song, like the official video, has an endless summer feel which touches a chord, resonates, and makes it eternally popular. Maybe it’s partly the lighting, the way the sunshine washes streets (and pained souls) clean. The lighting is even more apparent in their Lucky Man video. Sunshine everywhere makes life a dream, and the brighter the shafts, the darker the shadow. It’s how you perceive the world.
The Urban Hymns album was their biggest success however you measure it: sales (platinum in many countries), critical acceptance, public adoption, chart position. It won Best British Album at the 1998 Brit Awards. It was a long journey to get there, but The Verve worked hard and always held on to hope.
Extract from page 323 of 2000 Tunes: A History of Manchester Music by M. H. Rees; used with permission. Read the whole series (25 extracts) here; or my summary post. Readers might be interested in my forthcoming novel about a man obsessed with Manchester music - confusingly, it is also called 2000 Tunes!