Martin Birch, producer and engineer who worked with Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac and many more, has died at age 71. The news was confirmed by Whitesnake's David Coverdale, who wrote, "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 … My thoughts & prayers to his family, friends & fans." No cause of death has been revealed.
Having gotten his start in the late 1960s, Birch worked on Faces and Wishbone Ash's debut albums, as well as Jeff Beck’s Beck-Ola, The Groundhogs 1971 cult classic Thank Christ for the Bomb, and many early Fleetwood Mac records. As the '70s went on, Birch came into his own, working with metal and hard rock acts, including Deep Purple (as an engineer on Fireball and Machine Head and others) and related groups (Whitesnake, Rainbow), as well as his long-standing relationship with Iron Maiden, producing Number of the Beast, Peace of Mind and many more. Birch also worked with Dio-era Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, and more.
"A man of many nicknames," wrote Iron Maiden, "and simply one of the greatest people we have ever worked with."
Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi wrote, "So shocked to hear the sad news of Martin Birch’s passing," adding, "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." Geezer Butler, meanwhile, wrote, "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."
Scorpions wrote, "A sad day for the Family of Rock. Martin Birch - the legendary Producer of Deep Purple and many other Great Artists - passed away on Sunday. Our hearts and prayers go out to his Family and Friends. RIP Martin Birch."
Rest in peace, Martin.