It's one of the most iconic indie songs of the 1990s, but 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' has not been the big earner for Richard Ashcroft that many might have thought.

The Verve frontman sampled an orchestral version of The Rolling Stones' 'The Last Time' when he wrote the song, and it has been the subject of a protracted financial dispute for over twenty years.

Although Ashcroft initially received permission to use the sample, he was later sued by former Stones manager Allen Klein, who claimed that he had used more of the song than agreed. Andrew Loog Oldham, who arranged the version in question, also sued them for songwriter royalties in 1999. The result of both suits was that Jagger, Richards and Oldham received all royalty payments on 'Bitter Sweet Symphony'.

However, the musician has now revealed that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have returned credits and royalties for the song.

Speaking at yesterday's Ivor Novello songwriting awards - at which he received a Lifetime Achievement Award - Ashcroft revealed the news.

"As of last month," he said, "Mick Jagger and Keith Richards signed over all their publishing for 'Bitter Sweet Symphony,' which was a truly kind and magnanimous thing for them to do."

He admitted that the news had been 'life-affirming' and that he could finally do something that he hadn't been able to for years: "They play ['Bitter Sweet Symphony'] before England plays," he told the BBC. "So I can sit back and watch England ... and finally just enjoy the moment."