Known as ‘the Father of Loud’, Jim Marshall changed rock’n’roll with his brand of affordable guitar amplifiers
The man who gave rock one of its key visual and sonic props has died. Jim Marshall, known as “The Father of Loud” for inventing the Marshall amplifier, was 88 years old.
Marshall was a drummer and drum teacher who used his earnings to set up a music shop in west London in 1960. Among his customers were the likes of Ritchie Blackmore and Pete Townshend, and it was through talking to them that Marshall realised there was a gap in the market for a guitar amplifier cheaper than the American-made models popular at the time. When, at Townshend’s request, a Marshall 1959 amplifier head was teamed with a cabinet, the “Marshall stack” was born, becoming the defining feature in rock bands’ backlines for generations to come.
Virtually every major guitarist has used Marshall amps at one time or another, and giant arrays of Marshall cabs – often suggested to be empty boxes, with no actual amplification purposes – have become key stage props for generations of metal bands, especially.
Among the musicians paying their respects to the late innovator was former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, who tweeted: “The news of Jim Marshall passing is deeply saddening. R & R will never be the same w/out him. But, his amps will live on FOREVER!”
American blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa also showed his appreciation on Twitter: “A very sad day for the Marshall family. My thoughts and prayers go out to Paul and his family. Rest in Peace Jim Marshall OBE.”