Martin Birch

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Martin Birch
Born(1948-12-27)27 December 1948
Woking, Surrey, United Kingdom
Died9 August 2020(2020-08-09) (aged 71)
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Record producer
  • audio engineer
Years active1968–1992

Martin Birch (27 December 1948 – 9 August 2020) was a British music producer and sound engineer. He became renowned for engineering and producing albums recorded predominantly by British rock bands, including Deep Purple, Rainbow, Fleetwood Mac, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, and Iron Maiden.[1]

Biography[edit]

Birch was born on 27 December 1948 in Woking, Surrey.[1] He began his career in music as an audio engineer with Jeff Beck, Fleetwood Mac and Deep Purple, producing and engineering eleven albums for the latter. In 1980, coming from the "Deep Purple camp",[2] he was called upon by Black Sabbath for Heaven and Hell. The band's previous albums had been self-produced and they were happy to let Birch, who had worked with Ronnie James Dio before, produce them.[3] His "bright midrange" on the album is especially noted.[4] He began a long tenure working exclusively with Iron Maiden in 1981, producing and engineering Killers and retiring from working with other bands for a while.[4]

Birch also produced and engineered albums for numerous artists. These included Deep Purple-related projects (Rainbow,[1] Paice Ashton Lord,[5] Whitesnake,[1] Roger Glover,[5] and Jon Lord),[5] but also encompassed Wayne County & the Electric Chairs.[6] On Fleetwood Mac's album Mystery to Me (1973) he is also credited playing acoustic guitar.[5] The song "Hard Lovin' Man" from the Deep Purple album Deep Purple in Rock is dedicated to him: "For Martin Birch – catalyst".[7]

Birch retired in 1992, after producing Iron Maiden's Fear of the Dark album.[1] It was the last of the ten records he produced with the group.[8] He appeared in Iron Maiden's music video "Holy Smoke" two years before his retirement.[9]

Birch died on 9 August 2020, at age 71.[10] The cause of death was undisclosed.[1][11] Initial tributes were paid by David Coverdale, Geezer Butler and Wendy Dio.[8] Members of Iron Maiden offered a lengthy tribute to Birch on their official website, with Steve Harris, Bruce Dickinson and Rod Smallwood reflecting on his personality and his time working with the band.[12]

Selected discography[edit]

Source: AllMusic[5] unless otherwise stated.

Fleetwood Mac[edit]

Deep Purple[edit]

Jon Lord[edit]

  • 1971 – Gemini Suite (engineer)
  • 1976 – Sarabande (producer, engineer, remixing)

Bernie Marsden[edit]

  • 1979 - And About Time Too (producer, engineer)

Wishbone Ash[edit]

Rainbow[edit]

Whitesnake[edit]

Black Sabbath[edit]

Blue Öyster Cult[edit]

Iron Maiden[edit]

Other artists[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (10 August 2020). "Martin Birch, producer for Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and more, dies aged 71". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  2. ^ McIver, Joel (17 November 2009). Black Sabbath: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Music Sales. p. 215. ISBN 9780857120281. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  3. ^ Mudrian, Albert (2009). Precious Metal: Decibel Presents the Stories Behind 25 Extreme Metal Masterpieces. Da Capo. pp. 8–9. ISBN 9780786749621. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  4. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (2012). "The Albums: Killers". In Neil Daniels (ed.). Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History of the Beast. Voyageur. pp. 38–. ISBN 9780760342213. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Martin Birch – Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  6. ^ Smets, Eric (2014). Mouvance Punk 1976–1978: 100 des meilleurs albums. Camion Blanc. p. 146. ISBN 9782357796249.
  7. ^ Popoff, Martin (2014). Deep Purple: De la fumée sur l'eau 1968–1976. Camion Blanc. p. 77. ISBN 9782357795457.
  8. ^ a b "Martin Birch: Tributes paid to heavy metal music producer". BBC News. 10 August 2020. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  9. ^ Kaufman, Spencer (9 August 2020). "R.I.P. Martin Birch, Producer for Iron Maiden, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple and More Dies at 71". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Legendary IRON MAIDEN And DEEP PURPLE Producer MARTIN BIRCH Dead At 71". Blabbermouth.net. 9 August 2020. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  11. ^ Chilton, Louis (10 August 2020). "Martin Birch death: Tributes paid to 'brilliant' Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath producer". The Independent. London. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  12. ^ "R.I.P Martin Birch". ironmaiden.com.
  13. ^ "Concerto for Group and Orchestra". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  14. ^ Deming, Mark (2007). "Classic Albums: Deep Purple – Machine Head (2002)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 6 November 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  15. ^ a b Begrand, Adrien (14 June 2005). "Iron Maiden's Live After Death". PopMatters. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  16. ^ Padovani, Henry (2009). Secret Police Man. Pen Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-907172-83-0.

External links[edit]