Simon Jones (The Verve & The Shining

8fe49418aaf3e44c7165-1024Best known as being a member of The Verve and The Shining, the English Singer-Songwriter Simon Jones was born 29th May 1972. The Verve were an English alternative rock band formed in Wigan in 1989 by lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bass guitarist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury. The guitarist and keyboard player Simon Tong became a member at a later date. Beginning with a psychedelic sound, by the mid-1990s the band had released several EPs and three albums.The founding members of Verve met at Winstanley Sixth Form College, in Wigan, Greater Manchester. The band’s first gig was at the Honeysuckle Pub, in Wigan, on 15 August 1990.Most of the band’s early material was created through extensive jam sessions.Fronted by singer Richard Ashcroft, the band caused a buzz in early 1991 for its ability to captivate audiences with its musical textures and avant-garde sensibilities.The group was signed by Hut Records in 1991 and their first studio releases in 1992, “All in the Mind”, “She’s a Superstar”, and “Gravity Grave” (along with the December 1992 Verve) saw the band become a critical success, making an impression with freeform guitar work by McCabe and unpredictable vocals by Ashcroft. Those first 3 singles reached the first spot in the UK Indie charts, and “She’s a Superstar” did enter the UK Top 75 Singles Chart. The band saw some support from these early days in the United States in some music scenes in big cities like New York connected with psychedelic music.

1993′s A Storm in Heaven was the band’s full-length debut, produced by record producer John Leckie (of Radiohead, The Stone Roses,XTC and The Fall fame). “Blue” was released as the lead single and again managed to enter in the UK Top 75 at No. 69 and reached No. 2 in the Indie charts. The album was a critical success, but was only a moderate commercial success, reaching No. 27 in the UK album chart that summer. The second single from the album, “Slide Away”, topped the UK indie rock charts. During this period the band played a number of gigs with Oasis who, at the time, were relatively unknown.]In 1994, the band released the album No Come Down, a compilation of b-sides plus a live version of “Gravity Grave” performed atGlastonbury Festival in 1993. It was the band’s first release under the name The Verve, following legal difficulties with the jazz labelVerve Records. The band then played on the travelling U.S. alternative rock festival, Lollapalooza, in the summer of 1994. A new mix of “Blue” was released in the U.S. to promote the band.

For the band’s second album, 1995′s A Northern Soul, They departed from the experimental psychedelic sounds of A Storm in Heaven and focused more on conventional alternative rock, with Ashcroft’s vocals taking a more prominent role in the songs, although reminiscent of some of the early work. Around this period, Oasis guitarist and friend of Ashcroft, Noel Gallagher, dedicated the song “Cast No Shadow” on the album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? to Ashcroft, and Ashcroft returned the gesture by dedicating the song “A Northern Soul” to Noel.The band released the album’s first single “This Is Music” in May, and it reached No. 35, their first single to reach the Top 40. It was followed by “On Your Own” in June which performed even better, reaching No. 28. This single was particularly new for The Verve as it was a soulful ballad. The album reached the UK Top 20 upon its release in July, but Ashcroft broke up the band three months later, just before the release of the third single “History”, which reached No. 24 in September. Ashcroft reunited with Jones and Salisbury just a few weeks after the break-up, but McCabe did not rejoin them. The new band hired former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, but he spent only a couple of days with the band. The band then chose Simon Tong, a school friend credited with originally teaching Ashcroft and Jones to play guitar. The band made no live appearances for all of 1996, apart from a solo performance from Ashcroft supporting Oasis in New York. The rest of the year was spent playing and recording songs for a new album.

The band’s commercial breakthrough was the 1997 album Urban Hymns, one of the best-selling albums in UK Chart history, and the single “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, which became a worldwide hit. In 1998, the band won two Brit Awards—winning 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 this commercial peak, The Verve broke up 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. In 2009, the band broke up for the third time.

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