Our condolences go out to family, friends, and the numerous musicians who worked with the legendary British producer Martin Birch who died earlier today (Sunday, August 9) at the age of 71. His passing was confirmed former DEEP PURPLE and current WHITESNAKE front-man David Coverdale on Twitter.
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
Best known for engineering and producing albums by DEEP PURPLE, RAINBOW, FLEETWOOD MAC, WHITESNAKE, BLACK SABBATH, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT and IRON MAIDEN, the British studio legend’s engineering and producing credits run from 1969 until his retirement in 1992. He engineered and/or produced five FLEETWOOD MAC albums from 1969 through 1973, and did the same for numerous DEEP PURPLE albums from 1969 through 1977.
In the ’80s, Birch became IRON MAIDEN’s go-to producer, helming all of the iconic metal band’s LPs from 1981’s “Killers” through 1992’s “Fear of the Dark”.
He also worked extensively with WHITESNAKE from their debut EP “Snakebite” through 1984’s “Slide It In”. Furthermore, he produced BLACK SABBATH’s “Heaven and Hell” and “Mob Rules”, as well as multiple releases by RAINBOW.
Birch retired from producing in 1992, despite being only 43 at the time. He never returned to the studio afterward, with MAIDEN‘s“Fear of the Dark” being his last credit.
In addition to the aforementioned acts, Birch also engineered or produced albums by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, JEFF BECK, GARY MOORE, WAYNE COUNTY, and more. Birch actually appeared in the music video for IRON MAIDEN’s “Holy Smoke”. He’s the one sporting a long black wig and studded leather choker while surrounded by scantily clad women, as seen below.