Richard James Burgess

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Richard James Burgess (born 29 June 1949) is an English studio drummer, music-computer programmer, recording artist, record producer, composer, author, manager, marketer and inventor. He launched his career as a producer with Spandau Ballet's debut UK hit "To Cut a Long Story Short",[1] which marked the commercial beginnings of the New Romantic movement.[2]


He was educated at Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and holds a PhD from the University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales).[3]


In the early 1980s, he 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.[4]

Other productions included Adam Ant, King, New Edition, Melba Moore, Colonel Abrams, America, Kim Wilde, Five Star, Tony Banks of Genesis, and Fish of Marillion, Living in a Box, Princess, Virginia Astley, Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate, When in Rome, Shriekback, Shock and Barbie Wilde. 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.[5] He was co-producer, co-executive producer, project manager and an author for Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology[6] and is credited as associate producer on Tony Trischka's Territory [7] and a compiler of Classic Piano Blues for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.[8]

Burgess's mixes and remixes include tracks for the movies 9½ Weeks, About Last Night... and artists Thomas Dolby, Lou Reed, Youssou N'Dour,[9] and Luba.[5]


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, BarryMason, 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.

Recording artist[edit]

Burgess co-produced, co-wrote, programmed, sang and played drums for the European electronica group Landscape, whose 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.


He 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[10][11] 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.[12] 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.[13][14] His New York City productions of Colonel Abrams' which yielded the gold singles "Trapped" and "I'm Not Gonna Let" are widely considered to have been the precursors to house music.[15]


His book The Art of Music Production: The Theory and Practice, which was originally entitled The Art of Record Production,[16] is now in its fourth edition. He has written many 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.[17]

Educator and academic[edit]

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,[18] and currently teaches classes on record production and the music business at The Omega Studios' School of Applied Recording Arts And Sciences.[19]

Manager and marketer[edit]

His management company, Heisenberg Ltd, managed producers and engineers such as Phill Brown, Andrew Jackson and Rafe McKenna in the UK and US. The company changed its name to Burgess World Co in the mid-eighties and relocated from Los Angeles and New York in the mid-nineties where it managed many mid-Atlantic based artists including Jimmie's Chicken Shack.[20] Since 2001, Burgess has been at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings where he is the Director of Marketing, Sales and Licensing.[3]


He is a member of the national steering committee for the Recording Academy's Producer and Engineer Wing and is currently co-chair of the executive committee for Smithsonian Music, a pan-institutional music initiative. He has been 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[edit]

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 British Arts Council for its Park Lane Group Purcell Room concert series. He was featured in The A to Z of Rock Drummers.


  1. ^ "Spandau Ballet / Gary Kemp – Outside Organisation". Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Hooper, Mark (1 May 2008). "Adventures in synth | Music". Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Smithsonian Folkways – Smithsonian Folkways Staff". 20 March 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "Richard James Burgess Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Richard James Burgess | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Smithsonian Folkways – Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology – Various Artists". 20 March 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Smithsonian Folkways – Territory – Tony Trischka". 20 March 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "Smithsonian Folkways – Classic Piano Blues from Smithsonian Folkways – Various Artists". 20 March 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "". Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "About Fairlight CMI – Artrocker". Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  12. ^ Dean, Matt (2011). The Drum: A History. Scarecrow Press. pp. 370+. ISBN 0810881705. 
  13. ^ Hooper, Mark (1 May 2008). "Adventures in synth". London: Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ "History of House Music". Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "''The Art of Music Production'' published by Omnibus Press (ISBN 1844494314)". Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Asarp : The Journal on the Art of Record Production – Instructions for Contributors" (PDF). Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  18. ^ [3][dead link]
  19. ^ [4][dead link]
  20. ^ "Burgess World Co". Burgess World Co. 26 February 2004. Retrieved 3 July 2014.