Martin Birch, the British music producer whose credits include records by Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath, died. He was 71 years old.
The news of his death was announced to Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale on Twitter on Aug. 9. The cause of death is still unknown.
The Surrey-born Birch started his career at the end of the 1960s as an engineer, working on sessions for Jeff Beck, Fleetwood Mac (“Kiln House” “Bare Trees”), Deep Purple (“In Rock” “Machine Head”) and Rainbow (“Rising” “Long Live Rock ‘n Roll”). A craftsman of early recording technology, he captured the excitement of live bands and loud amplification, helping to produce simple, concentrated records that brought new momentum to heavy rock in the 1970s as the psych-rock edges of the 1960s melted away.
Known for a mid-range-forward style that favoured guitars, Birch, whose nickname was Headmaster, may be better known for his 11-year career with Iron Maiden, serving as producer and engineer of canonical records such as “Killers,” “Number of The Beast,” “Piece Of Mind” and “Somewhere In Time.”
He followed up the success of those releases with Whitesnake ‘s 1982 album “Saints & Sinners,” which featured the original version of the future single “Here I Go Again.” The song would be re-recorded in 1987 and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Birch ‘s long-term collaborations went beyond Maiden and Whitesnake to collaborate with other metal acts such as Rainbow and Dark Purple, which led to Birch’s release of two Black Sabbath songs, “Heaven and Hell” and “Mob Law.”
While he retired in 1992, Birch was a major player in the second wave of British Metal in the 1970s and 1980s, when the genre dominated the world.