R.I.P. renowned producer & engineer Martin Birch (Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, Rainbow) (1948-2020)
One of the most renowned producers and engineers in the world of hard rock / heavy metal — Martin Birch — has reportedly passed away at the age of 71. Birch produced many records including Iron Maiden‘s eight studio albums from 1981 to 1992; Rainbow‘s first three studio albums Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975) as co-producer, Rising (1976) and Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll (1978); Black Sabbath‘s records Heaven And Hell (1980) and Mob Rules (1981); and, seven Whitesnake studio albums between 1978 to 1984.
Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale posted the following message in part on his Twitter account earlier today (with slight edits):
“It is with a very heavy heart I’ve just had verified my very dear friend & producer Martin Birch has passed away…Martin was a huge part of my life…helping me from the first time we met through until Slide It In…My thoughts & prayers to his family, friends & fans…”
Wikipedia states the following about Birch’s career in the music industry (with slight edits)
“Martin Birch was born on 27 December 1948 in Woking, Surrey. He began his career in music as an audio engineer with Jeff Beck, Fleetwood Mac and Deep Purple, producing and engineering eleven albums for the latter. In 1980, coming from the “Deep Purple camp”, he was called upon by Black Sabbath for Heaven And Hell; their previous albums had been self-produced and they were happy to let Birch, who had worked with Ronnie James Dio before, produce them. His “bright midrange” on the album is especially noted. In 1981, he began a long tenure working exclusively with Iron Maiden, producing and engineering Killers and retiring from working with other bands for a while.
Birch has also produced and engineered albums for numerous artists, such as Deep Purple-related projects (Rainbow, Paice Ashton Lord, Whitesnake, Roger Glover, Jon Lord), but also Wayne County & The Electric Chairs. On Fleetwood Mac‘s album Mystery to Me (1973), he is also credited with playing acoustic guitar.
The song “Hard Lovin’ Man” from the Deep Purple album Deep Purple In Rock is dedicated to him : “For Martin Birch – catalyst”.
He retired in 1992, after producing Iron Maiden‘s Fear of The Dark album. Birch appears in Iron Maiden‘s music video “Holy Smoke.””
Iron Maiden‘s “Holy Smoke” video:
Whitesnake‘s “Love Ain’t No Stranger” video: