Producer Martin Birch Passed Away At Age 71

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“Martin was a huge part of my life,” tweeted David Coverdale of Whitesnake, who confirmed the news of his death.

“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.., ”he wrote on his Twitter account.

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Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler called him a “brilliant producer,” while Wendy Dio noted that Birch had been “a very dear friend” of her late ex-husband Ronnie.

Martin Birch, who died Sunday at age 71, started in the late 1960s as an engineer for Fleetwood Mac and other projects.

He continued working with Iron Maiden for 11 years, producing iconic records such as Somewhere In Time and Number of the Beast.

He had retired in 1992 after producing Fear of the Dark, the last of the Decalogue of Iron Maiden records on which he worked.

Known as “The Headmaster,” Birch also produced bands like Whitesnake, with whom he worked from their debut EP Snakebite to their 1984 album Slide It In.