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Journeys To Glory REVISITED: Producer’s Notes by Richard James Burgess
03 May 2012

Journeys To Glory REVISITED: Producer’s Notes by Richard James Burgess

Following the great reaction to SB.com revisiting the Steve Norman and Martin Kemp pieces on Journeys To Glory as part of the promotion of the 4CD box set ‘The Albums 1980-84’, we have now re-published below this very interesting piece by Richard James Burgess, the producer of the album.

‘The Albums 1980-84’ is FREE in the UK when you switch your energy supply with our online partners Ecotricty or is available here to buy for just £14.99 in the Official Spandau Ballet Store.

Journeys To Glory – Producer’s Notes

I don’t think an album could have been more appropriately named than this one. Call it the confidence of youth if you like, but the title really encapsulates a feeling of inevitability that infused and excited the band and me as we were laying the tracks.

We began recording the first single before the band had been signed by a label. CBS Records (now Sony) was still bidding against Chrysalis and Steve Dagger was doing a grand job of playing them off against each other. The buzz on the band, by this time, was so loud that a media backlash was gaining ground before anyone outside of the Blitz crowd had heard any music. We knew we needed to get the first single out before the holiday season. We went into the studio without knowing whether it would be Chrysalis, CBS or another label paying the bills. Chrysalis was a very hot label at that time and they took the prize. So, after a long night’s mixing (and on about two hours sleep—I crashed on Gary’s floor at his parents house), Gary and I delivered the mixes to the Stratford Place offices of Chrysalis, early the next morning. The single, of course, was ‘To Cut A Long Story Short’—that had been a unanimous decision—and about ten days later the 7-inch hit the streets, was immediately play-listed by Radio 1 and entered the UK charts a week or so later.

Rapidly rising to its peak chart position in December 1980, ‘To Cut a Long Story Short’ defined the sound that immediately became known as the sound of the eighties. It proclaimed the arrival of what would be known as the New Romantic movement (and it would also trigger what was called the second British invasion, in the US).

Journeys to Glory took about three weeks to record and the success of ‘To Cut a Long Story Short’ was consolidated with the March 1981 release of the album and the singles The Freeze and Musclebound, all in quick succession. Incredibly, a mere eight months later, Chant No.1, the first single from the second album, was already charting. These were heady times for the band and for me. In the ensuing months, more and more artists from the Blitz Club would chart, Visage and Ultravox in February 1981 and my own band Landscape in April. It was barely a matter of weeks before artists who had no direct connection with the Blitz would start adopting the sounds and look that Spandau had so quickly popularized.

This exhilarating journey had begun after I saw Spandau Ballet at one of their early Blitz Club gigs. I knew immediately that the band could become hugely successful. I also realized that I had been chatting to them at the bar without realizing they were in a band. I went to almost all of their first few shows and I recall sitting in my BMW playing Gary the early mixes from the Landscape album From The Tearooms of Mars…. I was somewhat shocked but elated when I got a call from Steve Dagger (it was a while before I figured out that Steve wasn’t actually in the band), who asked me if I would be interested in producing the group. It took me the proverbial nanosecond to say yes. Knowing how the music industry works and with the pre-signing buzz that happened I would not have been surprised had the record label nixed me for a more experienced producer. Fortunately for me, they didn’t. I had spent more than a decade in studios as an A-list session drummer and was pioneering the computer-driven synthesizer and Simmons SDSV techniques that would become a cornerstone of the eighties sound, which I later heard influenced their decision. The fact that I had seen the band live and had a rapport with them was a significant advantage for me and, I think, for the band.

Gary, Martin, Tony, Steve and John were all twenty-one or younger at this time and they had virtually no recording experience other than a quick demo session at an eight track studio in North London. I had spent more than a decade in recording studios and I knew the band’s live sound, understood their influences and shared their vision for this record and for their career ambitions. Subsequently I have recorded a number of first and second albums for other artists and I have come to see it as a great privilege to be able to acquaint someone with the techniques of the studio, to help introduce a new artist to the world and to share that first, most exciting part of the journey with them.

I never listen to my old recordings unless there is a specific reason. With the impending thirtieth anniversary of the release of Journeys To Glory I ripped it onto my MP3 player and found myself transported back three decades. I recall that this was a highly conceptual album; nothing happened by accident. Gary had a strong sense of what the album should be and he is an instinctive composer who holds the core parts in his mind. A key aspect of a producer’s job is to unravel what is inside the head(s) of the artist. We had many conversations about what the album should sound like and since there were no direct precedents, we were mentally mixing and matching ideas and sounds from our influences, common interests and our vision for how we could do something really fresh. I wanted to define a new sound. Punk had waned into commercialism, as most popular music movements do, and disco was in its final death throes. We wanted to make a dance album—this burgeoning scene was a club phenomenon—but it would have to be a dance album with a difference. Most of the tempos on JTG are faster than disco–presaging house-music tempos of the mid eighties. We talked a lot about having a dance/club bottom end – I still have notes on all of this – the kick drum would be tight and four to the bar (a dance motivator that has deep roots, it is common to disco and the swing era), the bass would have elements of funk (P-Funk even) as would the rhythm guitars and there would be a dash of Northern Soul. But no literal quotes, just flavors; inspirations; qualities. Much was subsequently made, in the press, about Spandau being a synth band but at the heart of this album is a very tight two guitar, bass, and drums group that had a rock element as well. In my mind we were making a record that Rusty Egan could play from start to finish at the Blitz and that became my mental benchmark. Not that the Blitz was our ultimate career ambition, but it was crystal-clear, to me, that what was happening at that little bar on Great Queen Street represented the beginnings of a new, potentially international, movement and the musical face of that movement could be Spandau Ballet.

In these times of digital everything it’s easy to forget that we recorded JTG onto analogue two-inch, 24-track tape using a click track. We used two tracks for automation and one for the click so that left us with only 21 tracks. If someone made a mistake, the part had to be played or sung again. We could punch in for sections and sometimes we could punch out again, but every note you hear on this record was played or sung by a human in real-time and there was no technology to fix timing or tuning problems. Similarly with mixing and remixing: it was very difficult to replace instruments; you could manually play a new part while listening to the click but that necessitated spare tracks, which we didn’t have. Neither did we have sophisticated digital equipment for altering sounds. It came down to analogue tape-delays, physical reverb-chambers (shiny rooms with speakers and microphones) and EMT plates, which were large sheets of metal with electrical inputs and outputs that simulated reverb. There were a couple of new digital devices such as the Eventide Harmonizer, Lexicon’s Primetime delay and their revolutionary 224 digital reverb. Remixing was a very different process then than it has become today. Gary had always wanted to put remixes on the B sides of the singles, so we only recorded the tracks we needed for the album and I set about mixing B sides for the singles and the A and B-side club remixes for the 12 inch versions. Gary liked dub reggae mix techniques (fortunately) and so I used a lot of reverb as well as tape delay: to offset, modify and multiply rhythms. Then I performed the magic hand dance using the cut and solo buttons on the automated mixing console to create breakdown sections and to generate new extended parts by, good old-fashioned, tape editing and a generous dose of effects. It was a highly creative and stimulating process, but by the time I had remixed the B sides of the singles, the A and B-sides of the twelve-inches that came out with the singles, and then did them all again for the twelve-inch boxed set of “Diamond” (which I thought was a brilliant idea), I was having to dig very deep for new ideas and techniques. Predictably enough, automated mix technology was less than 100% reliable at that time so there were a number of nights when we would be twelve or more hours into a mix and the console would decide that it couldn’t remember how to read all this information that we had programmed into it. Patience is not one of my virtues but, luckily, persistence is.

Journeys to Glory earned Gold certification in the UK establishing a strong initial fan-base at home and abroad for the band to tour on and a credible foundation from which to launch a career. Just six months later, when we recorded the first single for the next album—Chant No.1—the band had been heartily road tested and they’d improved beyond all recognition. Their musical thinking had also progressed considerably but that’s another story, Hearing it again thirty-years on, I am extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the guys on this record. It’s a relatively simple but absolutely honest album that achieved what we set out to do, which was: to establish the band, to create a new sound and to represent this particular phase in the group’s development. It was also a huge amount of fun. Thanks guys.

Richard James Burgess Ph.D.
Washington DC, February 2011

Richard James Burgess Ph.D. was the producer for Spandau Ballet’s first two albums, Journeys To Glory and Diamond and has many other multi-platinum, platinum and gold records to his name. He authored The Art of Record Production and The Art of Music Production (now in its 3rd ed.). Burgess has been a major label recording artist and composer with hit records in his own right, was a studio musician of note and has worked internationally for most major labels as an, engineer, re-mixer and manager of artists and producers. He is also known for his pioneering work with synthesizers, computers and sampling in popular music and as an inventor of the SDSV drum synthesizer. Educated at Berklee College of Music, Boston, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London and The University of Glamorgan, Wales, he played with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (U.K.) and won Music Week, Arts Council, Park Lane Group, and Greater London Arts Association awards. He currently works for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in Washington DC, where he just completed seven years of production on the six CD boxed set entitled: Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology.

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      2. REMINDER: Tony…
      3. Martin Revealed…
      4. 'Gold' Round Up!
      5. Gary Performs With…
      6. Spoken Word Version…
      7. Absolute Radio…
      8. REMINDER: Gary…
      9. Gary On Radio's…
      10. "We Would Love…
      11. The Spandathon…
      12. 'Gold' - The Olympic…
      13. More Olympics 'Gold'…
      14. REMINDER: Watch…
      15. 'Gold' / Olympics…
      16. Team GB Win A 'GOLD'…
    6. July

      1. 'GOLD 2012' Released…
      2. Listening To Absolute…
      3. Spandau Vs Basto…
      4. Team GB Spandathon…
      5. Gary On The Cycle…
      6. Gary's Inheritance…
      7. 'Gold 2012' Mix…
      8. Spandau Facebook…
      9. Gary To Appear…
      10. Spandau Ballet…
      11. Press Release:…
      12. Tony To Play Japan…
      13. Happy Bastille…
      14. John Keeble Scores…
      15. Spandau Bopler…
      16. 10 Ways To F*ck…
      17. Bopler Games Spandau…
      18. MFest Cancelled…
      19. Gary Performs at…
      20. Happy Birthday…
      21. REMINDER: Gary…
      22. Happy Independence…
      23. Play Classic Spandau…
      24. Steve To Perform…
      25. Spandau Ballet…
    7. June

      1. Gary Lady Magazine…
      2. GOLD! Celebrate…
      3. Spandau Ballet…
      4. Gary Appearing…
      5. Dressed to Kill…
      6. Spandau's 'True'…
      7. Tony Back On Absolute…
      8. What I see in the…
      9. Gary Interview…
      10. The Birth of Glam…
      11. 'Ziggy Changed…
      12. Happy Jubilee!
      13. Happy Birthday…
    8. May

      1. Catch Up on Gary…
      2. Memorial Day
      3. REMINDER: Tony…
      4. UPDATED: Note From…
      5. Gary on Sky Arts…
      6. Gary Interview…
      7. Gary: Daybreak…
      8. Ziggy Stardust…
      9. REMINDER: Gary…
      10. Press Release:…
      11. How we made: Gary…
      12. Tony's Week: Loose…
      13. Republished: 'A…
      14. Journeys To Glory…
      15. Extended Version…
    9. April

      1. May Day Special:…
      2. Journeys Revisted:…
      3. 'The Albums 1980-84'…
      4. Gary's 'Inexperienced…
      5. OUT NOW! Spandau…
      6. Happy Easter!
      7. Gary Property Feature…
    10. March

      1. FREE 'Gold' Merchandise!
      2. Martin On ITV's…
      3. Gary Unveils Ziggy…
      4. Gary To Appear…
      5. Tony Announces…
      6. Listen To Gary's…
      7. Happy Birthday…
      8. Tony Hadley Metropolis…
      9. Gary On BBC London…
      10. Last Live At The…
      11. REMINDER: Tony…
      12. Gary To Unveil…
      13. Winner Of Signed…
      14. Watch Martin On…
      15. 'True EP' Get Digital…
      16. Follow John On…
      17. REMINDER! Mother's…
      18. Gary Blogs For…
      19. 'True' Featured…
      20. Sir Terry Chats…
      21. Martin To Compete…
      22. Hi-Brow: Gary Kemp…
      23. Gary On Weekend…
      24. Martin To Appear…
      25. Press Release:…
    11. February

      1. Video Footage:…
      2. Amazing FREE Bundle…
      3. REMINDER: O2 Show…
      4. Rex Albert Kemp
      5. 'We Can Be Heroes'…
      6. Watch Martin's…
      7. Repeat Of Gary's…
      8. 'Gold' Mixes Available…
      9. The Lyrics Of Gary…
      10. Whitney Houston…
      11. Tony Becomes A…
      12. REMINDER: Tony…
      13. Frida Gold's...Gold'!
      14. Press Release:…
      15. Martin Appears…
      16. The Lyrics Of Gary…
      17. Steve At 'The Gathering'…
      18. Tony To Play Two…
    12. January

      1. Stalker Out Now…
      2. REMINDER: Steve…
      3. Further UK TV Appearances…
      4. Gary Curates and…
      5. Catch Up On Martin's…
      6. Gold Mixes 2012…
      7. 'Gold' Mixes Released…
      8. Martin: UK TV Appearance…
      9. Martin's 'Stalker'…
      10. Movin' On Up -…
      11. New 'Gold' Merch…
      12. Spandau Smash Into…
      13. Orgasmatron Show…
      14. Gary On The Jo…
      15. Happy New Year!
  7. 2011

    1. December

      1. Merry Christmas…
      2. New 'Gold' Mixes…
      3. REMINDER: Gary…
      4. Catch Up On Martin's…
      5. Oakenfold's 'GOLD'…
      6. Italy - Final 'O2'…
      7. Gary Kemp Boxing…
      8. News Just In! Steve…
      9. The Lyrics of Gary…
      10. UPDATE: Gary Names…
      11. REMINDER: Live…
      12. Steve Norman Live:…
      13. The Lyrics of Gary…
      14. Steve Norman Is…
    2. November

      1. Live At The O2…
      2. Italian TV Broadcasts…
      3. 'Gold' Remix Out…
      4. Happy Thanksgiving!
      5. 'True' Featuring…
      6. We Can Be Heroes…
      7. 'Stalker' To Get…
    3. October

      1. New 'GOLD' Merchandise…
      2. 'We Can Be Heroes'…
      3. Sing On Spandau's…
      4. Martin To Attend…
      5. Steve Norman's…
      6. Unseen Spandau…
      7. Martin On ITV1's…
      8. Martin's 'Stalker'…
      9. Tony Live: Australia…
      10. Happy Birthday…
      11. Steve Norman /…
      12. Martin's Stalker…
      13. Tony Hadley Live…
      14. Competition To…
      15. Happy Birthday…
      16. Gary Kemp Talks…
      17. Steve Norman /…
      18. Gary Picks Up BMI…
      19. Martin To Take…
      20. Guardian Piece…
      21. Gary Turns Theatre…
    4. September

      1. Graham Smith Talks…
      2. Steve Norman: Dutch…
      3. Catch Up On Martin's…
      4. Martin TV Dates…
      5. 'We Can Be Heroes'…
      6. Cloudfish Live:…
      7. Watch Martin on…
      8. Watch Martin On…
      9. Update: Gary's…
      10. Martin on Saturday…
      11. Martin Kemp's 'Stalker'…
      12. Watch Martin on…
      13. Gary's 'Hot Lap'!
      14. Clouldfish Live…
      15. Meet Martin Kemp!
    5. August

      1. Martin: Stalker…
      2. Tony Cancels Chile…
      3. Martin Makes Directorial…
      4. Tony Hadley Solo…
      5. My Summer Reading:…
      6. 'True' Features…
      7. Greenwich Summer…
    6. July

      1. 'True' To Feature…
      2. Chant No.1 (I Don't…
      3. Gary: Songs in…
      4. Chant No.1 (I Don't…
      5. Tony Cancels Scarborough…
      6. Biking Article…
      7. Gary Appears In…
      8. Happy Birthday…
      9. Incorrect announcement…
    7. June

      1. Limited Edition…
      2. Tony To Play Italian…
      3. Press Release:…
      4. Standard Session…
      5. Standard Session…
      6. Tonight! Limited…
      7. Gary and Robert…
      8. Gary Kemp Invites…
      9. Gary On Robert…
      10. Happy Birthday…
      11. Gary - Standard…
    8. May

      1. Gary On BBC London…
      2. Tony To Appear…
      3. Through The Barricades…
      4. Robert Elms To…
      5. Gary's 'Standard…
      6. Gary To Appear…
      7. Gary and Martin:…
    9. April

      1. Happy Easter!
      2. Martin: 'How To…
      3. Gary Appearing…
      4. Live Shots Of Tony's…
      5. Martin's Tweets…
      6. Gary's Absolute…
      7. Tony's 2011 Solo…
      8. REMINDER: Gary…
      9. Tony Live Update…
    10. March

      1. Gary Kemp 'In Conversation'…
      2. Mothers Day Offer:…
      3. Happy Birthday…
      4. Gary Kemp appearing…
      5. Gary and Tony Rock…
      6. Gary and Tony Live…
      7. Gary interview…
      8. Mail On Sunday…
      9. Gary and Tony Live…
      10. Spandau Covermount:…
      11. Journeys To Glory…
      12. Gary Kemp: 'Live'…
      13. Spandau Mail On…
      14. Journeys To Glory…
      15. Journeys To Glory…
      16. Journeys To Glory…
      17. Gary Kemp Live:…
    11. February

      1. Tony Hadley Solo…
      2. Gary Kemp Special…
      3. Exclusive Review…
      4. Short Film starring…
      5. Valentines Day…
      6. New Paradise Point…
    12. January

      1. Gary Kemps interview…
      2. Watch Paradise…
      3. Martin Kemp on…
      4. Paradise Point…
      5. The Blitz Club…
      6. Gary Kemp appears…
  8. 2010

    1. December

      1. Exclusive review…
      2. Gary on Radio 4…
      3. Tony London Christmas…
      4. Steve Norman confirms…
      5. Spandau Win Award…
      6. Live At NEC Now…
      7. Date changes for…
      8. New great value…
      9. Paradise Point…
      10. Award winning film…
    2. November

      1. Gary To Perform…
      2. Gold, Best of Spandau…
      3. Free Download and…
      4. Coming Monday!…
      5. New Reformation…
    3. July

      1. Video Killed The…
    4. June

      1. Parade and True…
      2. See Spandau Live…
      3. Spandau Live on…
      4. Isle Of Wight Coverage
      5. Isle Of Wight &…
      6. 15% Off Voucher…
    5. May

      1. True and Parade…
      2. Gary On The One…
      3. Musical Viagra…
      4. Spandau/Rod Stewart…
    6. April

      1. Further Live Reviews
      2. The Australian…
      3. Perth Review
    7. March

      1. Live at the O2…
      2. Spanish Reviews
      3. Spandau On German…
      4. Live at the O2…
      5. Italian You Tube…
      6. In-Store Photos…
      7. German Live Reviews
      8. Backstage Belgrade…
      9. 'Journey's To Glory'…
      10. Spandau Ballet…
      11. Italian Reports
      12. Spandau Press From…
    8. February

      1. New Zealand Added…
      2. Spandau & Rod Stewart…
      3. Denmark Show Added…
      4. Cape Town Show…
      5. Second Sydney Show…
      6. 'Journeys To Glory'…
      7. SB To Play South…
    9. January

      1. Sandown Park Racecourse…
      2. SB To Play Newmarket…
      3. SB To Tour Australia…
  9. 2009

    1. December

      1. Isle of Wight Festival…
      2. 23rd Dec, Radio…
      3. Ultimate Fan Page
      4. Spandau In Spain
      5. Sunday 13th & Monday…
      6. Live at the O2…
      7. Heart FM / Spandau…
      8. BBC Breakfast Interview…
    2. November

      1. Spandau on London…
      2. Live at the O2…
      3. Live at the O2…
      4. Spandau On BBC…
      5. TV and Radio Appearances…
      6. Italian X Factor
      7. Spandau Ballet…
    3. October

      1. Spandau on The…
      2. Spandau Ballet…
      3. Q Idol Award
      4. "Once More" at…
      5. Pre-Order London…
      6. "Once More" Out…
      7. Dublin Reviews…
      8. The Tour has Begun!
      9. Spandau Ballet…
      10. Pre-order “Once…
    4. September

      1. New recordings…
      2. GMTV Interview…
      3. Rome date added…
      4. Dates Rescheduled…
      5. The One Show &…
    5. June

      1. New Merchandise…
    6. May

      1. Spandau on Tubridy…
      2. Interview and Web…
    7. April

      1. SB.com Ticket Update
      2. Amsterdam Tickets…
      3. Spandau Ballet…
      4. First Performance…
      5. 'Chant No.1' features…
      6. New Dates On Sale…
      7. More Dates! Extra…
      8. Liverpool Date…
    8. March

      1. Extra O2 Date Added…
      2. General Tickets…
      3. Reformation Tour…
      4. Watch Brand New…
      5. Spandau Ballet…