The rock and heavy metal world mourns today as the sad news was announced of the death of producer Martin Burch. He died yesterday, August 9 at the age of 71. The cause of death is unknown.
News of his death was confirmed by Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale who tweeted, “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.”
Birch was born in Woking, Surrey in 1948. His early work included engineering debut albums by the Faces, Wishbone Ash and Jeff Beck’s Beck-Ola. He was known for providing a distinct heavy sound working with two guitars at a time and producing a clarity that made him an innovator in rock music.
Word of his talents spread quickly and he began making a name for himself in the music world. He established a long time professional relationship with Fleetwood Mac working on five albums with the band between 1969 and 1973. He also worked with Deep Purple on 11 albums, including Fireball and Machine Head both of which went to number one on the UK charts.
Other notable artist and bands he worked with include Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult and Whitesnake. He was instrumental in helping Black Sabbath develop their sound after Ozzy Osbourne left the band producing “Heaven and Hell” and “Mob Rules” both of which featured Ronnie James Dio on vocals.
Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler said he was “really sad” to hear of Birch’s passing while Ronnie James Dio’s widow Wendy was quoted as saying, “He was a genius producer and dear friend of Ronnie’s. May he RIP”.
During Birch’s career he developed quite a resume but he may be best known for his work with Iron Maiden. He started working exclusively with the band in the 1980’s starting with their 1981 release “Killers”. After that, he would produce every one of their albums until their 1992 release “Fear of the Dark”. Three of these albums hit number one on the UK charts including the famous release “Number of the Beast”. Birch called Iron Maiden, “my favorite band to work with,” saying “there is a great unity and nobody tries to stand out individually from the team.”
Birch retired from the music industry after “Fear of the Dark” was released. He was 42 years old at the time.
Despite the fact that he retired at a young age, he certainly made his mark on the music industry. He will be remembered for his kind spirit and the many classic albums he produced.