Robin Simon

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Robin Simon
Birth nameRobin Simon
Born (1956-07-12) 12 July 1956 (age 64)
Halifax, West Yorkshire, England
GenresNew wave, post-punk, synthpop
InstrumentsGuitar, backing vocals, synths
Years active1970s–present
Associated actsUltravox, Visage, Magazine, John Foxx, Neo, Ajanta Music

Robin Simon (born 12 July 1956 in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England)[1] is a British guitarist who was a member of Ultravox, Magazine and Visage.


Early career[edit]

Robin Simon played guitar in an original local band in and around Halifax in the early to mid-1970s, including a line-up which featured future Ultravox member Billy Currie.[2] He moved to London in 1975 and later joined the punk pop band Ians Radio (later called Neo) in 1976. Neo were one of the bands on the early London punk live scene. They featured on the Live at the Vortex album and supported Ultravox several times at the Marquee club in London, before Simon was offered the guitarist position in Ultravox.[3]


Simon joined Ultravox, replacing Stevie Shears, in 1977, bringing a more multi-dimensional sound to the band. This was due to his pioneering use of a guitar multi effects pedals sound, including a guitar monitor amp with tremolo effect. Timed echo, on the song Slow Motion, plus Chorus, Flanger, fuzz, wah-wah, delay and compressor pedals created a guitar sound unique at that time. He co-wrote the single "Slow Motion" from their 1978 third album, Systems of Romance, the original Ultravox line-up's only official hit.[4][5]

In addition to playing all guitars on Systems of Romance, Simon co-produced it with the band, Conny Plank (of Kraftwerk fame) and Dave Hutchins. He also pioneered the use of synthesizers that were put through guitar effects pedals, prior to Gary Numan's echoing of the technique, notably on the track "Quiet Men".

In early 1979, after the US tour with the band and no longer on Island Records, having been dropped by the label despite increased sales and positive reviews, John Foxx left Ultravox. Simon left some months later. He felt that without John Foxx, who had founded and named the band, and was its main songwriter, a new singer could cause the band to lose its integrity.[citation needed]

While on the USA tour, Simon met Grace Weisbard, and returned to New York three months later to marry her on 25 April 1979. He lived in Coney Island, New York, for a year, and jammed with, among others, a local electro post-punk band called The Futants[6] (along with Defunkt keyboardist Martin Fischer). Grace Simon (née Weisbard) moved to England with him, during his time with Magazine, before returning to New York.


After Returning to England, Simon joined Magazine in 1980, replacing John McGeoch.[7] After Magazine's tour of the United States and Australia/New Zealand plus a later live appearance with them the movie Urgh! A Music War and on the German TV show Rockpalast, he moved on from the band to record with John Foxx again, on the Garden album.

He played on the song "Saddest Quay", from Magazine keyboards player Dave Formula's solo album, Satellite Sweetheart, in 2009.[8]

John Foxx[edit]

Simon contributed to Foxx's solo albums The Garden (1981), The Golden Section (1983), and In Mysterious Ways (1985). He also performed on stage during his 1983 tour and at a special John Foxx & the Maths show at London's Roundhouse in 2010.[9]


Ultravox had gone on to greater success with Midge Ure fronting the band, but when Ure left the band in 1988, Billy Currie formed a new band which later included Simon. Using the early name of Uvox at rehearsal stage, they later used the name Humania. Live gigs at London's Marquee club and the borderline followed, though Currie later moved on from the project to reform a new lineup of Ultravox.[10] The band was short-lived, with Currie subsequently forming another incarnation of Ultravox without Simon.[10] Simon also worked with former Ultravox frontman John Foxx during his solo career.[11][2]


  • Live At The Vortex (1977) (compilation of various artists)
John Foxx
  • Sinews Of The Soul (2006)
Ajanta Music
  • And Now We Dream Secret door. (2006)


  1. ^ Chase, Helen. Magazine Pg. 23
  2. ^ a b "AjantaMusic[permanent dead link]", Independent Artists Company
  3. ^ "Neo Archived 14 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine", punkmodpop
  4. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 1132. ISBN 978-1-84195-827-9. "[78] Robin Simon – guitar (ex-NEO) repl. Shears ... [Apr 79] Robin ... departed to Magazine."
  5. ^ Welbourn Tekh, "Ultravox – Systems of Romance (review)", Head Heritage
  6. ^ Metamatic Forum: Robin Simon – The Futants
  7. ^ New Musical Express, 26 July 1980 "Magazine have already recruited a replacement for John. He is former Ultravox guitarist Robin Simon who has been rehearsing with the band for the past three weeks and has already been writing material with them."
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (1992) "The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and new wave Music", Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-579-4
  9. ^ Masters, Tim. "John Foxx celebrates the sound of synths". BBC. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  10. ^ a b Grant, Steven, Robbins, Ira, & Reno, Brad "Ultravox", Trouser Press
  11. ^ Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate. pp. 266. ISBN 0-86241-913-1.
  • The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll – 3rd Edition

External links[edit]