Martin Birch: heavy metal music producer ‘Genius’ dies at 71

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Tributes have been paid to Martin Birch, the British music producer behind iconic albums by groups such as Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.

Black Sabbath founding members Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi joined Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale in expressing their sympathies after the news broke this weekend.

Martin Birch, who died on Sunday at the age of 71, was born in Woking, Surrey, in 1948, and first worked as a sound engineer for bands such as Fleetwood Mac, Rainbow and Deep Purple.

Music producer Martin Birch, who died on Sunday aged 71, posed at the mixer while working with Rainbow on the album “Rainbow Rising” at The Record Plant in Los Angeles.

Martin Birch (center) with Rainbow teammates Ronnie Dio (left) and Ritchie Blackmore (right)

Martin Birch (center) with Rainbow teammates Ronnie Dio (left) and Ritchie Blackmore (right)

Martin Birch and his work with Iron Maiden

1981 – Killers (producer, engineer)

1982 – The Number of the Beast (producer, engineer)

1983 – Piece of Mind (producer, engineer, mixing)

1984 – Powerslave (producer, engineer, mixing)

1985 – Live After Death (producer, engineer, mixing)[19]

1986 – Somewhere in Time (producer, engineer, mixing)

1988 – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (producer, engineer, mixing)

1989 – Maiden England (producer, engineer, mixing)

1990 – No Prayer for the Dying (producer, engineer, mixing)

1992 – Fear of the Dark (producer, engineer, mixing)

He also worked on several albums with Rainbow, Blue Öyster Cult and produced the first six Whitesnake records between 1978 and 1984.

In 1980 he was invited to work on Heaven and Hell for Black Sabbath as a producer, thanks to his previous work with singer Ronnie James Dio – the singer who replaced Ozzy Osbourne in 1979.

Birch has been credited with refreshing the band’s sound through his work on Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules.

In 1981 Birch began working exclusively with Iron Maiden in the 1980s and produced some of his most iconic works with the heavy metal band starting with the Killers album and ending with Fear of the Dark.

After the latter’s release – his tenth Iron Maiden record – Birch retired in 1992.

David Coverdale said: “It is with a heavy heart that I have just verified that my dear friend and producer Martin Birch has passed away.

“Martin has been a big part of my life… helping me from the first time we met until Slide It In… My thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and fans. “

Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler said: “Really sad to hear of the passing of Martin Birch. Awesome generator. Had the pleasure of working with him on Black Sabbath albums #HeavenandHell and #MobRules Condolences to Vera and her family #RIPMartin ‘

Martin Birch, photographed in 1974 on the set of Warner Bros. Kung Fu television series in Los Angeles

Martin Birch, photographed in 1974 on the set of Warner Bros. Kung Fu television series in Los Angeles

Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath teammate and guitarist, added: “I am so shocked to hear the sad news of Martin Birch’s passing. Martin was a lovely guy and a great producer – he produced Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules for Sabbath.

“He will be deeply missed and my hearts go out to his family. TEAR’

Ronnie James Dio’s widow, Wendy, described Martin as a “genius and a dear friend of Ronnie”.

Describing her skills, Birch previously said, “I don’t consider myself to be a super tech, what I do is pretty straightforward for me, but the fact that I’m used to the bands I’ve worked with helps me. instantly know what I’m doing. they want, or even what they can achieve, even if they do not clearly realize it themselves.

A cause of death has not been disclosed at this stage.

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