Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Martin Birch

Has anyone watched the Metal Evolution episodes?

It’s a great doco series on how Metal came to be. The focus is on artists and how these artists evolved the sound from its blues rock, classical, folk and jazz influences into the many different genres the record labels reps created.

Since artists write the music, most of the credit for Metals evolution goes to them.

But.

The producers behind the artists played a part. It’s no coincidence that the most influential albums always had a producers who also produced another act’s influential album. And the producers didn’t get any love.

There was a stage in my life where I purchased albums because of the producer.

If I saw Tom Werman and Keith Olsen listed as the producer, it was a “no questions asked purchase”. Another producer who was in that category was Martin Birch. But when I had the means to buy as much new recorded product as possible in the 90’s, Martin Birch didn’t produce anything post 1992, because at the age of 42, he retired after “Fear Of The Dark” from Iron Maiden.

But his 70’s and 80’s output is an impressive list and it kept me busying purchasing it.

The whole Iron Maiden collection from “Killers” in 1981 to “Fear Of The Dark” in 1992 is Martin Birch.

The two Ronnie James Dio albums from Black Sabbath, “Heaven And Hell” and “Mob Rules” are Martin Birch.

The Whitesnake albums from “Trouble” in 1978 to “Slide It In” in 1984 are all Martin Birch.

The Rainbow releases with Ronnie James Dio from 1975 to 1978 are also Martin Birch.

Then there is his work with Deep Purple as engineer first and then co-producer, between 1969 and 1975 and some important albums like “In Rock”, “Fireball”, “Machine Head”, “Who Do You Think We Are?”, “Burn” and “Stormbringer”.

“Assault Attack” from Michael Schenker Group is also produced by Martin Birch.

And going back even further, he was the engineer on Jeff Beck’s highly influential and instrumental “Beck-Ola” album, plus the early version of Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green as guitarist and even a few solo albums from Peter Green, who was very influential to the guitar players of the time than the press have made him out to be. Judas Priest covered a song and Gary Moore did a whole album of his songs in the 90’s called “Blues For Greeny”.

Anyway I started yesterday, in paying tribute to the production work of Martin Birch. I started off with the two Black Sabbath albums, then moved to Rainbow and now I’m with Maiden, before I move to Deep Purple and the rest of the albums.

R.I.P..

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Music

Andy Johns – Rest In Peace and Thanks For the Music

Does anyone remember the band Cinderella?  Tom Keifer had the best blues rock voice ever.  Andy Johns, produced and engineered their first two albums, Night Songs and Long Cold Winter.  Both albums where hits.  That was my first introduction to Andy Johns.  He nailed the glam hard rock sound for Night Songs and then he got he got the blues rock (Bad Company/Aerosmith) inspired sound that the band was going for on Long Cold Winter.

Then came For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge by Van Halen.  Ted Templeman was on board to record Sammy Hagar, as Andy Johns was too demanding for Sammy.  Eddie returning to his hard rock roots and Andy Johns on board to capture it.  It spawned the hit Right Know.

Majority of music lovers will remember the artists and the songs attached to them.  Key players in the history of recorded music are the producers, engineers and the mixers.  They are the ones tasked with getting the ideas of the artist recorded.  They need to please the artists and the record label at the same time.  They do not get the credit they deserve. Alan Parsons deserves more credit for his engineering role, especially on Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd.  Martin Birch should be credited as the god father of heavy metal and hard rock.  Andy Johns alongside him.

Rest in Peace Andy Johns and thanks for contributing to my soundtrack

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