- 10 Aug 20
Birch was known for his 11-year stint with Iron Maiden, serving as the producer and engineer of records like 'Killers,' 'Number of The Beast,' 'Piece Of Mind' and 'Somewhere In Time.'
Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale announced the news via Twitter yesterday, with the cause of death as yet unknown.
Birch produced the first six Whitesnake albums, proving his many talents while working with numerous legendary bands.
Coverdale tweeted: “It is with a very heavy heart I’ve just had verified my very dear friend and 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 and prayers to his family, friends and fans.”
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...Mt thoughts & prayers to his family, friends & fans...💔💔 pic.twitter.com/J4UyDiG9zR
— David Coverdale (@davidcoverdale) August 9, 2020
Born in 1948, the Surrey-born Birch started out in the late 1960s as an engineer working on recordings for Jeff Beck, Rainbow and Fleetwood Mac.
He was renowned for capturing the energy of live bands and live amplification, bringing new power to the heavy rock of the 1970s.
Earning the nickname 'Headmaster', his guitar-focused, midrange-forward approach led his influence to be felt on Whitesnake's 1982 album Saints & Sinners, which included the hit track 'Here I Go Again'.
Every Iron Maiden album from 1981's Killers to his final work before retiring, 1992's Fear of the Dark, was masterminded by the producer.
Birch also worked on Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell, as well as notable works from Rainbow and Deep Purple.
Sabbath’s Geezer Butler paid tribute to the legendary producer on Twitter:
“Really sad to hear of the passing of Martin Birch. Brilliant producer. Had the pleasure of working with him on the Black Sabbath albums #HeavenandHell and #MobRules. Condolences to Vera and family. #RIPMartin”
Birch also carried out engineering and producing work on Fleetwood Mac's five early albums, from 1969’s Then Play On to 1973’s Mystery To Me.
When queried about his talents with major rock bands, Birch previously said:
“I don’t consider myself a super-technician, what I do is to me pretty simple, but the fact that I’m used to the bands I have worked with helps me to know instantly what they want, or even what they can achieve, even if they don’t realise it clearly themselves.
“Or maybe bands trust me over long periods of time just because they find me a particularly likeable character!”