Iron Maiden and Deep Purple producer Martin Birch dies, age 71

(Image credit: Fin Costello / Getty)

Rock producer Martin Birch has passed away, age 71. He leaves an incredible legacy of work with acts including Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Rainbow Fleetwood Mac and Blue Öyster Cult.

Birch produced Iron Maiden's hugely successful run of albums between 1981's Killer's and 1992's Fear Of The Dark, after which he retired from the music industry.

His legacy as a producer and engineer left a huge mark on rock music history; his first work  with Fleetwood Mac was as engineer on the classic 1969 album Then Play On with Peter Green.

He worked as engineer and then co-producer on the classic run of Deep Purple albums between 1969 and 1975, helmed Whitesnake's first six records and Black Sabbath's first two albums with Ronnie James Dio (Heaven And Hell in 1980 and 1981's follow-up, The Mob Rules.

It was Whitnsnake's David Coverdale who confirmed the sad news of Birch's passing. 

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Despite his incredible success, Birch remained humble about his abilities. "I don't consider myself a super-technician," he told France's Best magazine in 1983, "what I do is to me pretty simple, but the fact that I'm used to the bands I have worked with helps me to know instantly what they want, or even what they can achieve, even if they don't realise it clearly themselves. 

"Or maybe bands trust me over long periods of time just because they find me a particularly likeable character!"

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Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.