Artist Catalog

Rose Simpson

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Rose Simpson

Rose Simpson was, between 1968 and 1971, a member of the Incredible String Band, in which she played bass guitar, violin and percussion as well as singing. She later became mayor of the Welsh town of Aberystwyth.

She was born in Otley, Yorkshire, and by the mid-1960s was studying at the University of York, where she was president of the mountaineering club. She met Robin Williamson and Mike Heron in 1968 when the Incredible String Band were performing there, and travelled down to London with Williamson. However, according to the band's producer Joe Boyd, "in the middle of the night she left Robin's sleeping bag, crawled in with Mike, and stayed with him for the next three years".

She soon began performing with the band. Boyd wrote "The day Robin proposed that Licorice join the group, Mike went out and bought Rose an electric bass. 'Learn this,' he said, 'you're in the group now, too.'" She learned to play the bass so effectively that Steve Winwood asked her to play on a track of his, which she declined. She also sang and played violin and percussion. After brief affairs with both Boyd and David Crosby, she left the group in 1971, planning to take up sound engineering, but instead starting a family.

In 1994, as partner of Liberal Democrat councillor Bob Griffin, she took on the largely honorary role of Lady Mayoress of Aberystwyth in Wales, an event which received wide publicity. During that period of her life, she lived with Griffin in the Welsh village of Llanon, in a house on the main A487 coast road.

In 2003 she was reported as living contentedly in a cottage near Aberystwyth. Simpson spends her time studying other languages and cultures.
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