Richard James Burgess
Richard James Burgess
Burgess in 2015
|Also known as|
|Born||29 June 1949|
|Origin||Christchurch, New Zealand|
Richard James Burgess (born 29 June 1949) is an English musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, composer, author, manager, marketer and inventor.
Burgess's music career spans more than 40 years. He came to prominence in the early 1980s as co-founder and co-lead singer of the synthpop band Landscape, which released a top 10 hit in 1981 with the single "Einstein a Go-Go". Burgess is one of the main composers of Landscape's music, and made major lyrical contributions to the band's songs. After the band's break-up, he pursued a brief, moderately successful solo career releasing one mini-album, Richard James Burgess in 1984.
Burgess currently serves as the CEO of A2IM: American Association of Independent Music.
Richard Burgess was born in London, England, and his family emigrated to Christchurch, New Zealand in 1959. He showed an early interest in music, especially drums, and bought his first drum set at the age of 14. As a drummer, he gained experience in local bands including Fred Henry, Orange, Easy Street, The Lordships and Barry Saunders. Burgess also showed an early interest in recording production, buying a portable Tandberg tape recorder when he was sixteen to make amateur recordings.
Burgess studied electronics at college before turning to studies in music. In 1972, he left New Zealand to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, and in 1973 moved to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He holds a PhD in musicology from the University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales).
In the early 1980s, Burgess emerged as the first producer of the New Romantic movement, producing Spandau Ballet's first two gold albums and first six charting singles. He won a Music Week magazine sales award as a producer, and has created twenty-four chart singles and fourteen charting albums. Other productions included recordings for Adam Ant, King, New Edition, Melba Moore, Colonel Abrams, America, Kim Wilde, Five Star, Tony Banks and Fish. He was also an ambient pioneer in producing the British group Praise. He produced, engineered and mixed albums by Rubicon and X-CNN under the pseudonym Caleb Kadesh and did several mixes using the pseudonym Cadillac Jack. He was co-producer, co-executive producer, project manager and an author for Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology and is credited as associate producer on Tony Trischka's Territory  and as a compiler of Classic Piano Blues for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.
Musician and recording artist
Burgess has played on many albums as a studio-drummer and percussionist, having worked with producers such as Tony Visconti, Peter Collins, Trevor Horn, Ian Levine, Robin Millar, Hugh Padgham, Mike Stone, Gary Langan, Barry Mason, Peter Dawkins, John Sinclair, Gary Lyons, and Junior Campbell. These include albums such as Adam Ant's Strip and The Buggles' The Age of Plastic. He also recorded jazz with the British National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Neil Ardley, Ian Carr and Nucleus, and the early Landscape recordings. He performed live with Graham Collier, OBE.
From 1975 through the early 1980s, Burgess co-produced, co-wrote, programmed, sang and played drums for the European electronica group Landscape with Christopher Heaton, Andy Pask, Peter Thoms and John Walters. The band's RCA Records album From the Tea-rooms of Mars... To the Hell-holes of Uranus yielded the international hits "Einstein A Go-Go" and "Norman Bates". As a Capitol Records solo artist, he charted singles on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, reaching No. 1 on the New York Dance Music Report chart.
Burgess defined the computer programmer's and sampler's role in modern music via his work in the 1970s, creating the first computer driven hit, "Einstein A Go-Go", using the Roland MC-8 Microcomposer. He is believed to be the first to record digital samples on a commercial recording with his programming of the Fairlight CMI on Kate Bush's Never for Ever album and Visage's single "Fade To Grey". He conceptualised and co-designed the first standalone electronic drum set, the hexagonal shaped Simmons SDS-V. He appeared on three separate occasions on the BBC Television program Tomorrow's World demonstrating his prototype of the SDSV, the Roland MC-8 Microcomposer, and the Fairlight CMI. He coined the name for the New Romantic movement of the early 1980s. His New York City productions of Colonel Abrams' gold singles "Trapped" and "I'm Not Gonna Let You" are widely considered to have been the precursors to house music.
Educator and academic
Burgess is a member of the academic advisory committee for The Association for the Study of the Art of Record Production (ASARP, London College of Music). He has lectured on the subject of record production and the music business in the United States and in the United Kingdom. He wrote and presented the BBC World Service radio series Let There Be Drums. He taught drums at the Annapolis Music School in Maryland, and has taught classes on record production and the music business at The Omega Studios' School of Applied Recording Arts And Sciences.
Burgess' book The Art of Music Production: The Theory and Practice, which was in 1994 originally entitled The Art of Record Production, is now in its fourth edition. In 2014 he published his second book, The History of Music Production. He has written many chapters for other books and articles for technical and music magazines, as well as articles, papers and interviews for the academic Journal on the Association Art of Record Production (JARP), for which he is joint editor-in-chief.
Manager and executive
In 1978 Burgess founded a management company, Heisenberg Ltd, which managed producers and engineers such as Phill Brown, Andy Jackson and Rafe McKenna in the UK and US. The company changed its name to Burgess World Co in the mid-eighties, and relocated to Maryland from Los Angeles and New York in the mid-nineties where it managed many mid-Atlantic based artists including Jimmie's Chicken Shack.
Burgess has been a member of the national steering committee for the Recording Academy's Producer and Engineer Wing and has served as co-chair of the executive committee for Smithsonian Music, a pan-institutional music initiative. He served as Vice-President of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and co-chair for both the DC Chapter of the Producer and Engineer Wing, and the national Producer Compensation Committee.
Awards and achievements
As a member of the avant-garde electronic group Accord (with Christopher Heaton and Roger Cawkwell), he was featured on BBC Radio 3 programmes Music in Our Time and Improvisation Workshop. With Landscape, he received the Greater London Arts Association's Young Jazz Musicians 1976 award, and the Vitavox Live Sound award. Accord was also selected by the Arts Council of Great Britain for its Park Lane Group Purcell Room concert series. He was featured in The A to Z of Rock Drummers. In 2016 he won the British Council Education UK Alumni Award for Professional Achievement.
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- "Smithsonian Folkways Staff". Smithsonian Folkways. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
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- "Richard James Burgess | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology – Various Artists". Smithsonian Folkways. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "Territory – Tony Trischka". Smithsonian Folkways. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "Classic Piano Blues from Smithsonian Folkways – Various Artists". Smithsonian Folkways. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
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- "History of House Music". Housegroove.net. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
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- "Instructions for Contributors" (PDF). Journal on the Art of Record Production. ASARP. 7. 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
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- "Frontpage – A2IM". A2IM. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
- Shapiro, Harry (1982). The A to Z of Rock Drummers. Proteus. Retrieved 9 December 2015.