For a song I’ve heard so many times, I’ve never thought to look up the sample in Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve but I found the above video and an interesting backstory:
“Bitter Sweet Symphony” is based on a sample from a 1965 version of the Rolling Stones song “The Last Time” by the Andrew Oldham Orchestra. The Verve added strings, guitar, percussion and vocals. They obtained rights to use the “Last Time” sample from the copyright holder, Decca Records, but were denied permission from the Rolling Stones’ former manager, Allen Klein. Following a lawsuit, the Verve relinquished all royalties and the Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were added to the songwriting credits. In 2019, following Klein’s death, Jagger, Richards, and Klein’s son ceded the rights to the Verve songwriter Richard Ashcroft.
Firstly, I always assumed the sample came from like a late-19th/early-20th century classical composition. And then to hear the difference between the song with and without the drums… they could have easily made the song without and not lost any of the impact. But they did and despite the copyright wrangling, the classic remains.