Richard already knew he wanted to be a singer in a band at the age of 13. His father died when he was 11, and he remained an outsider at school.
He started The Verve in 1990 as simply Verve. Richard Ashcroft, Simon Jones, Peter Salisbury and Nick McCabe all met in school, but formed the band when they all found themselves unemployed.
They released their debut album, 'A Storm In Heaven', three years later. It was followed by the hugely acclaimed 'A Northern Soul' in 1994.
In 1995, The Verve decided to split up, unable to cope with the pressure of being the next big thing, but they reformed two years later and produced their UK number five album, 'Urban Hymns'. The album included 'The Drugs Don’t Work', and the defining song of summer 1997, 'Bitter Sweet Symphony'.
Although 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' was an immense success, it brought problems for the group. Alan Klein, the copyright owner of the Rolling Stones back catalogue, refused to allow the band to use a sample from The Rolling Stones 'The Last Time'. After negotiations they agreed a 50- 50 split of the royalties. But just prior to the records release, Alan Klein made a new demand for 100% of the royalties.
The Verve officially decided to call it a day in 1998. The split came after a difficult few months for the band, starting with guitarist Nick McCabe's decision not to finish the band's US and European tour dates.
Richard and his wife, former Spiritualised keyboardist Kate Radley, had their first child in 2000. He released his first solo album 'Alone with Everybody', the same year.
Richard started working on his next album in 2002. The new album, Human Conditions, contained a the collaboration with Beach Boys founder, Brian Wilson in the last track, Nature is the Law. Commercial success did not match the previous record standards and the album received very little promotion or airplay outside the UK.
His third solo album, 'Keys to the World', was recorded with the co-operation of the London Metropolitan Orchestra, and released in 2006. The first single on the album, Break the Night with Colour, reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart. His final solo album, 'United Nations Of Sound' was released in 2010.
In 2007, it was announced on Ashcroft's official website that The Verve had reformed and had plans for a new album and UK tour. Their fourth album, entitled 'Forth' was released in 2008.