Martin Birch is the greatest rock music producer and engineer ever.
by Jody Haskins for The Laguna Spectator
I firmly stand behind my position that Martin Birch is the very best rock music producer ever. Here is the strange twisted tale of how I discovered Martin Birch and hard rock and heavy metal music.
It was the summer of 1978 and I had just turned 13 years old. This was the summer I told my dad that I was no longer playing baseball. My dad had his usual hard ass, impatient response ready. “If you aren’t playing baseball any more then you are coming to work with me this summer.” I said that was fine with me. Working and getting paid beat the hell out of suffering through another long hot summer of little league “daddy” ball.
That summer found me working for my dad and riding shotgun on a washer and dryer service truck. My partner was a really cool dude named Frank. Frank was exactly ten years older than I was. He had dropped out of college five years earlier and had worked for my dad ever since. He was a Woodstock hippie who smoked weed and wore his hair like Roger Daltrey did in Tommy.
Frank had played football on a state championship team in the early seventies and he loved to talk about his gridiron glory days. His other favorite topics were women and heavy metal. I was like a 13 year old sponge soaking it all in, that could explain a lot.
We would stop by the record stores on our service route and Frank would tell me which albums to buy. When he told me to get Black Sabbath “Paranoid” he said to sneak it in the house so my mom wouldn’t see it. He knew she was a former Catholic turned Evangelical Moral Majority member and she wouldn’t have approved of anything called Black Sabbath coming into her house.
I would get two or three albums a week and play them at home while shooting pool or playing Space Invaders on my Atari all night long. Before long, I was a heavy metal fan. The first album that got me hooked was the Martin Birch engineered album by Deep Purple “Machine Head”. I began to notice a that many of my favorite albums were produced or engineered by Martin Birch. l began to seek out album produced or engineered by Martin Birch, that is how I discovered Iron Maiden.
Here is my top ten list of albums produced or engineered by Martin Birch.
- 1972 – Machine Head – Deep Purple
- 1983 – Piece of Mind -Iron Maiden
- 1984 – Slide It In – Whitesnake
- 1980 – Heaven and Hell – Black Sabbath
- 1982 – The Number of the Beast – Iron Maiden
- 1981 – Mob Rules – Black Sabbath
- 1974 – Burn – Deep Purple
- 1976 – Rising – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow
- 1981 – Come an’ Get It – Whitesnake
- 1982 – Saints & Sinners -Whitesnake
Martin Birch produced many other albums by many other artists, but for the purposes of this article, I only selected the top 10 Martin Birch Hard Rock & Heavy Metal albums. Let me know if you agree or disagree. What are your favorite classic hard rock and heavy metal albums which were either produced or engineered by Martin Birch?
1969 – Concerto for Group and Orchestra (engineer)
1970 – Deep Purple in Rock (engineer)
1971 – Fireball (engineer)
1972 – Machine Head (engineer)
1972 – Made in Japan (engineer)
1973 – Who Do We Think We Are (engineer)
1974 – Burn (engineer, mixing)
1974 – Stormbringer (co-producer, engineer, mixing)
1975 – Come Taste the Band (co-producer, engineer, mixing)
1976 – Made in Europe (co-producer, engineer, mixing)
1977 – Last Concert in Japan (co-producer, engineer)
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow
1975 – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (co-producer, engineer, mixing)
1976 – Rising (producer, engineer, mixing)
1977 – On Stage (producer, engineer, mixing)
1978 – Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (producer, engineer, mixing)
1986 – Finyl Vinyl (producer) – collection
1978 – Snakebite (producer)
1978 – Trouble (producer)
1978 – Live at Hammersmith (producer)
1979 – Lovehunter (producer, engineer)
1980 – Ready an’ Willing (producer, engineer, mixing)
1980 – Live…In the Heart of the City (producer, engineer)
1981 – Come an’ Get It (producer, engineer, mixing)
1982 – Saints & Sinners (producer, engineer, mixing)
1984 – Slide It In (producer)
1980 – Heaven and Hell (producer, engineer)
1981 – Mob Rules (producer, engineer)
Blue Öyster Cult
1980 – Cultösaurus Erectus (producer, engineer)
1981 – Fire of Unknown Origin (producer, engineer)
1981 – Killers (producer, engineer)
1982 – The Number of the Beast (producer, engineer)
1983 – Piece of Mind (producer, engineer, mixing)
1984 – Powerslave (producer, engineer, mixing)
1985 – Live After Death (producer, engineer)
1986 – Somewhere in Time (producer, engineer, mixing)
1988 – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (producer, engineer, mixing)
1990 – No Prayer for the Dying (producer, engineer, mixing)
1992 – Fear of the Dark (producer, engineer, mixing)
What are your top 10 Martin Birch Albums?