This is a group that almost qualified for my “Down The Dumper” series, but they narrowly missed out. But because I was fascinated by their story, I decided to include them in this series instead. Landscape were an English group formed in 1974. Their frontman was Richard Burgess, they made very early synthpop using the latest technology available, and they were probably the only group that featured someone who played both the trombone and keyboards.
Their first single and album were released in 1979, but it wasn’t until February 1981 that they had some success. This was when they released their best-known song and only Top Ten hit “Einstein A Go-Go”. This led to a few TV appearances, and this was also used on an advert, but it’s the video that really stood out to me. Firstly, it was because of the way Landscape were dressed. They all wore a matching outfit with the exception of the collar, which was a different colour for all of them, making them look a little like a team on The Crystal Maze long before that show existed.
But most notable was that the video featured the female half of the music/dance group Shock. These were Barbie Wilde (who had such a fascinatingly varied career in the 80s including being a TV presenter, along with appearing in adverts, music videos, and horror films, that I might do an individual piece about her), Carole Caplin (who about 25 years after this was involved in some political scandal that led to her appearing on the cover of Private Eye), and Lowri-Ann Richards (who was also an actress).
Then their second album “From The Tea-Rooms Of Mars… To The Hell-Holes Of Uranus” was released in March 1981 and reached no. 16. The follow-up in May 1981 was “Norman Bates” which became their second and final Top 40 hit. Now the first time I heard this was a while ago on Forgotten 80s. And it really has to be the weirdest song that I’ve come across for the first time thanks to that show. The video is black-and-white, and the lyrics consist of little beyond “My name is Norman Bates…“.
Then there was “European Man” (Barbie was also in the video to this one), but this wasn’t a hit disappointingly. After one more album, Landscape were reduced to a trio and changed their name to Landscape III, releasing some more singles, before going their separate ways in 1984. Burgess went on to become a leading producer, while Andy Pask was the co-writer of the theme to The Bill.