Heavy metal music producer Martin Birch has died.
The musical “genius” who helped bring songs from Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath to life was 71.
Whitesnake star David Coverdale, whose first six albums were produced by Martin, said: “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…My thoughts & prayers to his family, friends & fans.”
Martin was behind many iconic albums from some of heavy metal’s biggest stars.
Martin, who died on Sunday, was born in Woking, Surrey in 1948.
After finding a love for music, he began working as a sound engineer for bands such as Fleetwood Mac, Rainbow and Deep Purple.
Martin worked on Black Sabbath’s famous 1980 album Heaven and Hell. He landed the job of producer thanks to his previous work with singer Ronnie James Dio, who replaced Ozzy Osbourne in the band in 1979.
But then in 1981, Martin began working exclusively with Iron Maiden and produced some of their most iconic albums, including Killers, The Number of the Beast, and Maiden England.
He retired from producing music in 1992, after finishing work on Iron Maiden’s album Fear of the Dark.
Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler also paid tribute, saying: “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”
The band’s guitarist Tony Iommi penned: “So shocked to hear the sad news of Martin Birch’s passing. Martin was a lovely guy and a great producer – he produced Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules for Sabbath.
“He will be deeply missed and my thoughts go out to his family. R.I.P.”
Dio’s widow Wendy spoke of her late husband’s friendship with Martin.
Speaking previously about his work, Martin once 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.”