If you are a fan of Hard Rock or Metal, there is no way you have not ever listened to an album produced or mixed by Martin Birch.
(Photo: Fin Costello / Redferns)
Birch was for "Iron Maiden" as was George Martin for the Beatles. If Martin was then called "The Fifth Beatle" then Martin is undoubtedly the sixth "Maidenist" (the band numbered 5 members at the time) or Eddie's stepbrother. He has produced nine consecutive "Iron Maiden" albums ranging from "Killers" in 1981 to "Fear Of The Dark" in 1992. Only the masterpieces he produced and engineered for Maiden alone justify putting him in the Hall of Fame for producers (if there was one). "The Number Of The Beast", "Powerslave", "Somewhere in Time", "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" and more.
Birch was born on December 27, 1948 in Surrey, England.
He began his professional career as a technician and producer in the late 1960s as a sound technician on the albums of Jeff Beck and "Fleetwood Mac".
He later became the sound engineer for masterful albums by the band "Wishbone Ash" such as "Argus" and "Pilgrimage".
He rose to fame in the early '70s when he worked on "Deep Purple" albums including masterpieces "In Rock", "Machine Head", "Fireball", "Burn" and even the immortal live album "Made in Japan".
Birch stays with the extended "Deep Purple" family as he produces albums for Jon Lord and Roger Glover, among others.
Even after the breakup of "Deep Purple" in the mid - 1970s, Birch worked with "Rainbow" while producing his first three studio albums and the live album "On Stage" with Ronnie James Dio.
But that is not enough. Birch produced all of "Whitesnake's" first albums, from "Trouble" in 1978 to "Slide It In" in 1984.
Birch is also responsible for the production of "Black Sabbath"'s first two masterpieces with Ronnie James Dio "Heaven And Hell" and "Mob Rules". Birch encouraged the band to explore new areas and experiment with musical structures appropriate to Dio’s multi-octave vocal range and the results were nothing short of stunning.
He has also produced other artists such as Gary Moore, "Blue Öyster Cult" and even "Michael Schenker Group" on the amazing album "Assault Attack".
Birch believed in working for a long time with a certain artist, as George Martin did with "The Beatles". He believed that in-depth work with a certain band, album after album, was preferable to moving and skipping between artists, and indeed as can be seen in his career he accompanied bands such as "Black Sabbath", "Deep Purple", "Iron Maiden", "Whitesnake" and "Rainbow" across a sequence of albums.
Martin's last album to be produced was Iron Maiden's "Fear Of The Dark" from 1992, after which he retired.
Over the years, Birch has earned various nicknames on the album covers of the bands he has produced, such as "Farmer", "Black Night", "Pool Buly" and more ...
The song "Hard Lovin 'Man" from Deep Purple's "In Rock" album was dedicated by the band to Birch.
It is interesting to note that on Fleetwood Mac's "Mystery to Me" album, Birch also received credit for playing an acoustic guitar.
Martin Birch passed away on August 6, 2020, he was 71 years old at the time of his death.
There is no doubt that Birch will be remembered as the super producer of the Hard Rock and Metal genre.