HEAVY metal producer Martin Birch had died aged 71.

The legendary producer was behind iconic albums from bands including Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.


Black Sabbath founding members Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi paid tribute along with joined Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale.

Martin, who died on Sunday, started out as a sound engineer for bands including Fleetwood Mac, Rainbow and Deep Purple in the 1960s.

He also worked on multiple albums with Rainbow, Blue Öyster Cult and produced the first six Whitesnake records between 1978 and 1984.

Martin worked on Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell in 1980.

He then worked with Iron Maiden for 11 years, producing some of their biggest records such as Number of the Beast and Somewhere In Time.

Whitesnake's David 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."

Black Sabbath bassist Geezer said: "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."

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony added: "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.'

He was known as "The Headmaster" and also produced or engineered albums for Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult and many others.

Martin retired in 1992 after producing Fear of the Dark- which was the last of the 10 Iron Maiden records that he worked on.

Martin once said: "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."

He was born in Woking, Surrey, in 1948.

A cause of death has not been stated.

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