James Michael Heron (born 27 December 1942) is a Scottish singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his work in the Incredible String Band in the 1960s and 1970s.
Heron has also released a number of solo recordings, mostly more rock-oriented than the Incredible String Band material. The first of these, Smiling Men with Bad Reputations, released in 1971, when he was still a member of the ISB, took eclecticism to a new extreme, blending rock, folk and world music into an atmospheric whole. Contributing musicians included Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Duncan Browne and Ronnie Lane (as “Tommy & the Bijoux”), John Cale, Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks, Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Dudu Pukwana, Elton John, and Steve Winwood.
The Incredible String Band broke up in September 1974. With three other members of the final “electric” ISB lineup – Graham Forbes, John Gilston, and Malcolm Le Maistre — he formed the band Mike Heron’s Reputation, later known simply as Heron, with whom he recorded and toured until 1977. In 1977–78, while still living in the Glen Row cottage near Innerleithen which had been the Incredible String Band’s home and headquarters, he recorded songs which were eventually issued as The Glen Row Tapes. In 1979, he released a solo album on Casablanca Records. He then withdrew from performance for several years. In the 1990s he re-emerged with a new group, Mike Heron’s Incredible Acoustic Band, and released the album Where the Mystics Swim.
In 1997, he reunited with Robin Williamson for some concerts, and from 1999 to 2006 performed occasionally with a re-formed version of the Incredible String Band.
In March 2007, he recorded a song based on a poem by John Burnside, for the album Ballads of the Book, released by Chemikal Underground, with his daughter, musician Georgia Seddon.