Martin Birch has passed away. He was the sound engineer and music producer behind many of the biggest albums in British rock/metal history. Names he’s worked with include Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac, Rainbow, Whitesnake and more.
His career was most active from 1968 to 1992, with work on over 60 albums during that period. Among these are engineering for Deep Purple’s Machine Head (1972) and Wishbone Ash’s Wishbone Ash (1970), as well as production for Rainbow’s Rising (1976), Whitesnake’s Slide It In (1984), Blue Öyster Cult’s Fire of Unknown Origin (1981), Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell (1980) and the better part of Iron Maiden’s career including The Number of the Beast (1982).
Iron Maiden is usually considered the second biggest heavy metal band behind Black Sabbath, and can be crowned the kings of the new wave of British heavy metal. Due to the importance of the genre on metal as a whole, they’re sometimes known as one of the greatest metal bands of all time, and The Number of the Beast is their best-performing record. On it are the hits, “Run to the Hills,” “The Number of the Beast,” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name.” It’s the debut of Bruce Dickinson on vocals and guitarist Adrian Smith’s songwriting.
Birch’s sharp production was the perfect fit for Iron Maiden, pulling out the best of the guitar and vocal tones and making them sound massive. His tendency for bright mid-range frequencies made all the British rock anthems he produced pop to their fullest ability.
News of the recording legend’s passing was broken by Whitesnake vocalist David Coverdale. “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…”
Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and Iron Maiden also paid their respects on Twitter. Birch’s cause of death is currently undisclosed.
RIP Martin Birch (1948 – 2020)
— Iron Maiden (@IronMaiden) August 10, 2020
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 thoughts go out to his family. R.I.P.
— Tony Iommi (@tonyiommi) August 10, 2020