Every so often, a record producer comes along whose mastery of the studio takes on a legendary status. The early years of pop showed off the technical talents of George Martin and Phil Spector; the world of disco gave a platform to Quincy Jones and Geogio Moroder (Quincy’s hand in making Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’ a global success cannot be understated – it’s a stunning sounding record) and the rock scene gave Martin Birch plenty to apply a distinctive style.
If you grew up listening to rock and metal in the 70s and 80s, Birch’s name seemed to be ubiquitous with the greatest albums. He engineered some of Deep Purple’s best and most enduring works. He was one of the studio hands that steered Fleetwood Mac through the choppy waters of uncertainty in the early 70s and – perhaps most of all – he’ll be best remembered for being the man in the producer’s chair on most of the best Iron Maiden albums.
Birch produced all of the Maiden recordings between 1981’s ‘Killers’ and 1992’s ‘Fear of The Dark’. Those paying attention will note that, aside from their debut LP, Martin helped create all of Iron Maiden’s best work. Hearing ‘Invaders’ opening their ‘The Number of The Beast’ LP was revelatory. It showed off such a sharp sound; something as exciting as Deep Purple’s ‘Machine Head’ had been a decade earlier. The way Birch was able to make Clive Burr’s drum kit sound four times its natural size on tracks like ‘Gangland’ and ‘The Prisoner’ was a genuine talent at work.
His work with Whitesnake brought an extra warmth without weakening the punch and his mastery in the studio lent MKIII & IV Deep Purple albums a genuine richness that few rock producers could muster during the era.
Join us as we revisit various great tracks produced and/or engineered by Martin Birch during his brilliant career.
Further reading: Iron Maiden – Killers