Legendary rock producer Martin Birch dies, aged 71

Legendary rock producer Martin Birch, known for his nine album, eleven year stint with Iron Maiden, as well as his work producing Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Blue Öyster Cult, and Rainbow has died, aged 71.

Geezer Butler tweeted: “Really sad to hear of the passing of Martin Birch. Brilliant producer. Had the pleasure of working with him on the Black Sabbath albums Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules. Condolences to Vera and family.”

“It is with a very heavy heart I’ve just had verified my very dear friend and producer Martin Birch has passed away,” offered David Coverdale. Birch produced the first six Whitesnake albums.

Surrey-born Birch began his music career in the late sixties, working as an engineer on albums for Jeff Beck and Fleetwood Mac. He quickly developed a knack for capturing the raw excitement of loud, raucous rock bands in a studio. 

His style, which placed guitars to the fore, was instrumental in defining the sound of heavy and hard rock. He played a key role during the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) which surged in the late Seventies.  During his tenure with Iron Maiden he served as producer and engineer on classic releases such as Killers, Number of The Beast, Piece Of Mind and Somewhere In Time

He also produced Whitesnake’s ‘Here I go again’, featured on the album Saints & Sinners, in 1982. The song would be rerecorded in 1987, and go on to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Birch retired in 1992.
A cause of death has not been announced. AMI extends its condolences to Martin’s family and friends.

Image credit: Photograph: Fin Costello/Redferns