Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple producer Martin Birch dies at 71

He also engineered five early Fleetwood Mac studio albums.

Martin Birch

Photo: Fin Costello / Redferns

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Martin Birch, the prolific producer best known for his work with British rock icons such as Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, has died at the age of 71.

News of Birch’s death was made known by Whitesnake vocalist and founder David Coverdale, who conveyed his condolences to the late engineer’s family in a Tweet.

“It is with a very heavy heart I’ve just had verified my very dear friend & producer Martin Birch has passed away,” Coverdale wrote. “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”.

Through his prolific career, Birch produced nine consecutive Iron Maiden albums, from 1981’s Killers to 1992’s Fear Of The Dark; 11 studio and live albums for Deep Purple, and the first six Whitesnake albums.

He is also recognised for engineering five of Fleetwood Mac’s studio albums, from 1969’s Then Play On to 1973’s Mystery To Me; and Black Sabbath’s Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules.

Prolific for his work in British hard rock, Birch was known to collaborate with artists over long periods of time.

“I certainly think that you can only make the most out of a band if you know it really well, very much in depth,” he told Best magazine in an 1983 interview. “Occasional producers who make an album with a band, then move on to another, are bound to do something pretty shallow.”

“The results are always brilliant, excellent at the time, but you realise later that the true colours of the band don’t come out and the album loses quickly its prestige.”

Martin Birch
Ronnie James Dio, Martin Birch and Ritchie Blackmore at the Record Plant / Photo: Fin Costello / Redferns

Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler also took to twitter to convey his condolences. “Really sad to hear of the passing of Martin Birch. Brilliant producer” he said. “Had the pleasure of working with him on the Black Sabbath albums Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules. Condolences to Vera and family.”

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