The Drugs Don't Work (5:03)

Cover of Urban Hymns

From Urban Hymns and 36 other releases

“The Drugs Don’t Work” is a song by the British band, The Verve and is featured on their third album, Urban Hymns. It was released on 1 September 1997 as the second single from the album, charting at number 1 in the UK Singles Chart, becoming the band’s most successful single in the UK.

Ashcroft wrote the song in early 1995. He briefly mentioned it in an interview at the time, relating it to his drug usage: “There’s a new track I’ve just written, It goes ‘the drugs don’t work, they just make me worse, and I know I’ll see your face again’. That’s how I’m feeling at the moment. They make me worse, man. But I still take ‘em. Out of boredom and frustration you turn to something else to escape.” Ashcroft also performed the song when the band were touring in support of A Northern Soul. The song was eventually recorded for Urban Hymns. The album’s producer, Chris Potter later referred to it as both the best song and best vocal he had ever recorded.

According to, the drugs in the song were ones given to Richard Ashcroft’s father:

Whilst the exact meaning of the song is unclear, it is generally believed that composer Richard Ashcroft wrote the song in response to the death of his father , and is also thought to be influenced by his relationship with his wife, Ashcroft saying in an interview “to me, it’s a lovesong”.

The lyrics of the original demo varied from the eventual album track


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