9. Nick McCabe The Verve http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAdlLlr54Ns Nick McCabe is living proof of the angst that a guitar player can present a band and the problem is this, the singer writes the songs, they sound wonderful - but something's missing, the X-Factor that makes them sound amazing. So what does said singer do when they realise that their songs need that sprinkling of magic? Well in Nick McCabe's words, they "have to eat sh*t", and get the guitar player to make it all sound wonderful. The Verve weren't what you'd call a bunch of happy campers. At the start of his solo career, post 'Urban Hymns', Richard Ashcroft came out with the spectacularly ill-advised statement that said 'I had to quit, mental illness is contagious'. The Verve themselves however were a living madhouse, they tried to get rid of Nick McCabe several times, their masterpiece 'Urban Hymns', was initially recorded without him until Richard Ashcroft realised the magic element was missing. Ironically this worked out for the band completely, Ashcroft had the time to structure the songs, getting away from the freeform bliss-out's of their first record, and McCabe duly coloured it all in and made it magical, listen to the 12-string slide guitar he unleashes here, it's a heartbreaker. The beauty of Nick McCabe is that he isn't a guitar star in the traditional sense of the term; his playing is more atmospheric, he can play riffs up there with the best of them, but he's more interested in the sounds that the guitar produces. The Verve were what they were, a hugely experimental spacerock band who wrote songs you could hum, and this was because of Nick McCabe, you only have to listen to the drudgery that is Richard Ashcroft's solo stuff to realise that.