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Songwriter Ian McNabb picture(s)/pic(s), wallpaper and photo gallery.
Birth name: Robert Ian McNabb.
Born: November 3, 1960, Liverpool, England, UK.

Ian McNabb biography (bio):
Ian McNabb is known both for his work as leader and songwriter-in-chief of the Icicle Works in the 1980s, and his critically-acclaimed solo career throughout from the early 1990s to date. He has also played with musicians as diverse as Ringo Starr, Crazy Horse, Mike Scott (of The Waterboys), and Danny Thompson of folk legends Pentangle. This entry covers only his solo career - see the entry for the Icicle Works for his earlier work.

Early solo career:
Following the split of the Icicle Works in 1990, McNabb issued two singles in 1991 to little notice. He then resurfaced in 1993 with a collection of demos which would form the basis of his first solo album, Truth and Beauty. Recorded on a shoestring, it won him a record deal with Andrew Lauder's new 'This Way Up' Label.
The album's first proper single "If Love Was Like Guitars" became a minor UK hit in 1993. Following this, the 1991 single "Great Dreams of Heaven" was re-released, but failed to gain much airplay, possibly due to lyrical references such as "babies being born H.I.V."
The next single pulled from the album ("I'm Game") failed to chart, so This Way Up went for a different strategy. "(I Go) My Own Way" was re-recorded with Stone Roses producer John Leckie at the helm, but it too failed to significantly impact on the UK charts. Still, This Way Up stuck with McNabb and vice versa.

Head Like a Rock and Crazy Horse:
Post-Truth and Beauty, McNabb was allegedly inspired to a rockier sound by the engineer who mastered that record, telling him "Aye, Ian, your rocking days are behind you." Legend has it that McNabb went back to his home in Liverpool, and recorded a demo of what would become the coruscating opener of Head Like a Rock, "Fire Inside My Soul".
Label boss Andrew Lauder then suggested that McNabb go to record in America, which McNabb was skeptical about. He facetiously suggested to Lauder, on remembering his recent demos, that his new material sounded like Neil Young and Crazy Horse, and if Lauder could get Crazy Horse to play on the record, he would go to America. A few phone calls later, McNabb found himself in a Los Angeles studio with Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina and bassist Billy Talbot. This cast-iron rhythm section appeared on four of the ten tracks on Head Like a Rock, including the #54 UK hit "You Must Be Prepared To Dream". The album's other single, "Go Into The Light", did not feature Crazy Horse and peaked at UK #66.
Head Like a Rock was subsequently nominated for the 1994 Mercury Music Prize in 1994, and although M People would end up taking the award home, the attendant publicity surrounding the award-nominated album propelled Head Like A Rock into the UK album charts, where it peaked at #29.
Molina and Talbot toured with McNabb in 1994, featuring on the short live bonus CD which accompanied his next album, Merseybeast. This performance also featured Noel Gallagher of Oasis on uncredited rhythm guitar as the group covered The Seeds' "Pushin' Too Hard". Gallagher's refusal to be credited reportedly inspired the later McNabb composition "Don't Patronise Me", although McNabb has always denied this accusation.

Merseybeast:
The 1996 album Merseybeast saw McNabb with a new backing band called "The Afterlife", perhaps an assertion that there was far more to come following the Mercury nomination. But the first single, the fierce "Don't Put Your Spell On Me" only hit UK #72, and the title track of the album (which saw McNabb exploring his scouse roots and merging them with West Coast Americana) fared even worse, hitting UK #74.
Commercial disappointments aside, however, the album contains some classic McNabb songs. The wry "I'm a Genius" is a special live favourite, listing the narrator's shortcomings before the sweet refrain 'But when it comes to loving you babe, I'm a genius. Nevertheless, Merseybeast failed to capitalize on the commercial success of its predecessor, and occasioned a hiatus on McNabb's part from both touring under his own name, and recording full studio albums.
In 1997, This Way Up parted company with McNabb, and released a 'best-of' collection entitled My Own Way: The Words & Music of Ian McNabb.

Work with others:
1998 saw McNabb as part of a touring band for Mike Scott and The Waterboys, playing bass and sometimes keyboards. He also had occasion to serve as a touring bassist for one of his heroes, Ringo Starr, whose son Zak Starkey had got his first music industry break in 1988 when McNabb hired him to be a member of a late-running version of The Icicle Works.
On returning to performing his own material, McNabb focused on acoustic music, leading to a residency at the Birmingham club of Ronnie Scott. The material arising out of this became the low-key drummerless album A Party Political Broadcast On Behalf of The Emotional Party, released by McNabb on his own Fairfield label in 1998. Aside from McNabb, the only other musicians on the album were Waterboys Mike Scott and Anthony Thistlethwaite, and legendary bassist Danny Thompson, who has played with (among many others) Alexis Korner, Pentangle, Tim Buckley, Sandy Denny, John Martyn, and Richard Thompson [no relation]).
McNabb followed APPBOBOTEP with a live acoustic album, Live at Life(2000), compiled from a pair of Christmas gigs in 1999. The album included one newly-written track, "Why Are the Beautiful So Sad", which continued to chronicle McNabb's dislike of celebrity culture as noted earlier in "Dont Patronise Me".
In 2007 June Ian announced he will be collaborating with a series of artists on his new album entitled Reasons of take off. The artists include Mark Chadwick, Primal Scream, The View, Rufus Wainwright, Lily Allen and Bobby Zamora.

Later solo career:
Ian McNabb (2001) marked McNabbs full- band return, and was issued by Sanctuary Records. The album's opening track, "Livin' Proof [Miracles Can Happen]", was written for the Go-Gos reunion which had recently taken place, but was declined by that band. McNabb's version was pressed as a promo single, and showed his assured virtuosity as a composer of Pop-Rock singles.

The rest of the album drew heavily on the rock canon, and included nods to Status Quo, AC/DC and of course McNabbs idol Neil Young. All of McNabbs favourite topics were explored: what he calls the 'go get 'em' song ("Livin' Proof"), his Liverpudlian roots (the droll "Liverpool Girl"), fake celebrities ("Hollywood Tears"), and the West Coast of America which inspires so much of his work both musically and thematically ("[I Wish I Was In] California"). The album was moderately received critically, with reviewers complaining of a lack of variety in the rock bombast of the record as compared to its two predecessors. 2001 also saw the issuance of a demos and outtakes collection, Waifs and Strays, which included previously unreleased material and alternate versions of familiar McNabb chestnuts.
On a creative roll, McNabb returned to his own Fairfield label in 2002,and issued the low-key The Gentleman Adventurer. Best described as a semi-acoustic album, it is similar in spirit to his first solo album, Truth and Beauty, with occasional use of the drum machine to accompany more upbeat numbers such as "Aint No Way to Behave". Almost entirely performed by McNabb (with help from his long-time collaborator and bassist in the latter-day Icicle Works Roy Corkill), the album takes in a variety of styles from rock, through ballads, a touch of funk, and acoustic storytelling.

Another "bits and pieces" collection, Boots followed in 2003, the title being both McNabbs nickname (after his penchant for wearing Beatles-style boots in the mid-80s while with The Icicle Works), and a reference to the official bootleg nature of the release. The double disc set includes some very hard to find items, demos, and alternative versions.
2004 saw McNabb issuing a second 'Best Of' album, Potency. This covered his whole solo oeuvre, showcasing his eclectic musical taste and output.

Current work:
In 2005 McNabb successfully pushed a single, "Let The Young Girl Do What She Wants To" to #38 on the UK charts. This was McNabb's highest-ever chart placing as a solo artist, and his biggest hit since The Icicle Works' "Love Is a Wonderful Colour" reached #15 in early 1984, a span of over 21 years. This unexpected chart success was assisted considerably by his loyal fanbase buying several different formats of the single in an attempt to gain greater publicity and recognition for his then-current album, Before All of This. But despite support from a number of prominent DJs such as Jeremy Vine and Janice Long on BBC Radio 2, further widespread success continued to elude McNabb.
Later in 2005, McNabb released People Don't Stop Believin', an album of b-sides and outtakes from Before All of This.
In October 2006, after 15 years as a solo artist, McNabb unexpectedly revived the name "The Icicle Works" for a series of UK concerts. However, this new version of McNabb's old band did not feature any original Icicle Works members other than McNabb himself. In essence, McNabb seemed to be re-branding himself, using a somewhat more successful trade name in order to give his work increased exposure. June 2007 saw a return to Liverpool with two consecutive performances at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, the first of which featured support act Kevin Critchley (himself a long-time fan of McNabb) and his cellist/pianist/regular sidekick Luke Moore.
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