The news was confirmed by Whitesnake singer David Coverdale, who tweeted: “It is with a very heavy heart I’ve just had verified my very dear friend and producer Martin Birch has passed away.
“Martin was a huge part of my life … helping me from the first time we met through until Slide It In. .. My thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and fans.”
Born in 1948, Birch was known for his lengthy production stints with a number of legnedary bands, having produced the first six Whitesnake albums.
The legendary producer also masterminded every Iron Maiden album from 1981’s ‘Killers’ to 1992’s ‘Fear of the Dark’ – which marked his final work before retriement.
It is with a very heavy heart I’ve just had verified my very dear friend & producer Martin Birch has passed away…Martin was a huge part of my life…helping me from the first time we met through until Slide It In…Mt thoughts & prayers to his family, friends & fans…💔💔 pic.twitter.com/J4UyDiG9zR
— David Coverdale (@davidcoverdale) August 9, 2020
Elsewhere, he produced Black Sabbath’s ‘Heaven and Hell’ – which saw Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne on vocals – and notable efforts from the likes of Rainbow and Deep Purple.
Paying tribute, Sabbath’s Geezer Butler wrote on Twitter: “Really sad to hear of the passing of Martin Birch. Brilliant producer. Had the pleasure of working with him on the Black Sabbath albums #HeavenandHell and #MobRules. Condolences to Vera and family. #RIPMartin”
Birch also worked with Fleetwood Mac, engineering and producing five early albums from 1969’s ‘Then Play On’ to 1973’s ‘Mystery To Me’.
Really sad to hear of the passing of Martin Birch. Brilliant producer. Had the pleasure of working with him on the Black Sabbath albums #HeavenandHell and #MobRules. Condolences to Vera and family. #RIPMartin pic.twitter.com/FPZajWRvpN
— Geezer Butler (@geezerbutler) August 9, 2020
Losing Martin Birch is massive. The work he's been involved in is epic as hell. Playing just ONE of his albums in memory seems insufficient.
— 𝖇𝖑𝖆𝖈𝖐 𝖘𝖆𝖇𝖇𝖆𝖙𝖍 𝖔𝖓𝖑𝖎𝖓𝖊 (@sabbathfans) August 9, 2020
Describing his skills, Birch previously said: “I don’t consider myself a super-technician, 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 realize it clearly themselves.
“Or maybe bands trust me over long periods of time just because they find me a particularly likable character!”
A cause of death is yet to be announced.