Richard Ashcroft - Biography

Richard AshcroftRichard Paul Ashcroft (born 11 September, 1971, in Billinge, Wigan, England) is best known as the lead singer of The Verve, an English rock band that he helped form in 1989. After that band's demise in 1999, Ashcroft embarked on a successful solo career.

Ashcroft's father passed away when Richard was 11. Ashcroft soon fell under the influence of his stepfather, who belonged to the ancient secular order of the Rosicrucians.

He is good friends with Oasis frontman 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 Oasis track "Cast No Shadow" is dedicated to him, and it is believed that Ashcroft dedicated The Verve's 1995 song "Northern Soul" to Noel Gallagher. Martin introduced him as "the best singer in the world" when he performed "Bitter Sweet Symphony" (which Martin called "the best song in the world") with Coldplay at the London Live 8 concert in 2005. This was said by many of the people who attended that concert to have been the best act they witnessed during that day. On his second album, Human Conditions, Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson performs on the song "Nature is the Law". Ashcroft is married to Kate Radley, the former keyboard player for British shoegaze band Spiritualized. Together, they have had two sons: Sonny, born in 2000, and Cassius, born in 2004.

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 from Keys To The World was "Music Is Power", which charted at number 20. The next single, "Words Just Get in the Way", charted even lower, barely making it into the Top 40 at the number 40 position after receiving barely any promotion or airplay.

While in Billinge, Ashcroft was an avid football player, and he still closely follows his favorite team, Manchester United. He has also admitted to cheering for the Wigan football club, since he grew up in Billinge, a suburb of Wigan.

Ashcroft's sometimes-sharp tongue and "famous fingers" (Ashcroft would often raise both of his middle fingers to the camera in photographs) earned him the nickname "Mad Richard" from the U.K. press.

In 2006, Ashcroft confessed to taking Prozac to help him with 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 June 2006, Ashcroft told the crowd at his Isle of Wight Festival performance that he had considered suicide the previous week. He also criticised Conservative Party leader David Cameron and Prime Minister Tony Blair, urging the latter to bring UK soldiers home from Iraq.

Ashcroft was arrested in Wiltshire on June 19, 2006 after coming into a youth center and asking to work with the teenagers present at the club. He refused to leave and employees called police, resulting in Ashcroft being arrested and slapped with a 80 fine for disorderly conduct.

Richard Ashcroft Official Website

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