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Urban Hymns is the third album by English rock band The Verve, released on 29 September, 1997. It earned nearly unanimous critical praise upon its release, and went on to become the band's best-selling release and one of the biggest selling albums of the year.


The Verve had previously released two albums, A Storm in Heaven in 1993 and A Northern Soul in 1995. Neither album had achieved mainstream success,and the band split shortly after their second album due to internal conflicts. Vocalist Richard Ashcroft quickly reformed the group, but without guitarist Nick McCabe, who was replaced by Simon Tong, an old friend of the band.


The Verve were known for their music's complex, immersive sonic textures. "Bitter Sweet Symphony" was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, and remains the band's most well-known song. "The Drugs Don't Work", the band's only number one single in the UKmarker, became a concert staple for jam bands and other groups.

The rest of the album alternated between wistful ballads like "Sonnet" and "Space and Time", spacey grooves like "Catching the Butterfly" and "The Rolling People", and all-out rockers like the Led Zeppelin-esque, pounding "Come On", the album closer.

Release and reception

The album received nearly unanimous critical praise upon its release, with Melody Maker naming Urban Hymns as the number-one album of 1997 in its year-end list


In the years following its release, Urban Hymns received much acclaim. In 1998, it won Best British Album at the Brit Awards, it was also shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, and Q magazine readers voted it the 18th greatest album of all time.The magazine placed it at the same position in 2001.

In 2006, its editors voted it the 16th greatest album of all time. The Verve were awarded with the first ever "Q Classic Album" award for this album at the 2007 Q Awards. In a 2008 poll, Urban Hymns was ranked as the 10th best British album of all time.

Track listing

  1. "Bitter Sweet Symphony" (Richard Ashcroft, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – 5:58
  2. "Sonnet" (Ashcroft) – 4:21
  3. "The Rolling People" (The Verve) – 7:01
  4. "The Drugs Don't Work" (Ashcroft) – 5:05
  5. "Catching the Butterfly" (The Verve) – 6:26
  6. "Neon Wilderness" (Nick McCabe, The Verve) – 2:37
  7. "Space and Time" (Ashcroft) – 5:36
  8. "Weeping Willow" (Ashcroft) – 4:49
  9. "Lucky Man" (Ashcroft) – 4:53
  10. "One Day" (Ashcroft) – 5:03
  11. "This Time" (Ashcroft) – 3:50
  12. "Velvet Morning" (Ashcroft) – 4:57
  13. "Come On" (The Verve) – 15:15
    1. "Come On" - (00:00–6:38)
    2. "Lord I Guess I'll Never Know" - (06:38–13:01)
    3. "Deep Freeze" - (13:01–15:15)

The Japanese edition of the album contains 15 tracks — the bonus track "Lord I Guess I'll Never Know" is track 13 and "Deep Freeze" is track 15.


Country Chart position Certification
United Kingdom 1 8× Platinum
United States 23 Platinum
France 9 Platinum
Canada 18 2× Platinum
Australia 9 3× Platinum
Netherlands Platinum
Switzerland 13 Gold
New Zealand 1 5× Platinum

Chart positions


Chart (1998) Peak

Billboard 200 23
Top Canadian Albums 18
Media Control Charts (Germany) 11

Lista Top-40 (Finland) 4


Single Chart (1998) Peak

"Lucky Man" Modern Rock Tracks 16
Lista Top-20 (Finland) 16
New Zealand Singles Chart 38
"Bitter Sweet Symphony" Top 40 Adult Recurrents 9
Adult Top 40 8
Modern Rock Tracks 4
Mainstream Rock Tracks 22
Top 40 Mainstream 23
The Billboard Hot 100 12
New Zealand Singles Chart 15
Lista Top-20 (Finland) 6
"The Drugs Don't Work" Lista Top-20 (Finland) 9
New Zealand Singles Chart 10
"Sonnet" New Zealand Singles Chart 43





  1. Follow the Yellow Brick Road
  2. Follow the Yellow Brick Road
  3. 100 Q Magazine - Readers 1998
  4. In our lifetime #2; at RockListMusic
  5. Oasis top best British album poll


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