R.I.P. (Rock In Peace), Jim Marshall 1923-2012

by L-Johnson

Jim Marshall signing autographs in Anaheim, California in 2007.

His name is synonymous with the music that has entertained us for most of our lives. Emblems bearing his name can be seen on stage behind our favorite musicians including The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Rush, The Ramones, AC/DC, Guns ‘n Roses and Nirvana.

Jim Marshall, inventor of the Marshall brand of guitar amplifiers, passed away on April 5th, 2012 at the age of 88. Known as the “father of loud”, he is one of the four forefathers of rock music equipment along with Leo Fender, Les Paul, and Seth Lover. Jim was a drummer and taught drumming lessons in the 1950s. He had over 65 students a week earning ¬£5000 a year, equal to $170,000 in today’s dollars. Using these earnings, he started up a music shop in 1960.

At his store he ended up talking with customers like Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple), Jim Sullivan (Tom Jones), and Pete Townshend (The Who) and discovered that there was a gap in the market for a guitar amp that was better and more affordable.

Using the Fender Bassman as a template, he worked on making improvements to the design and perfected it on the sixth prototype. His new amp was louder, had better overdrive, and boosted the treble frequencies. Rock music would never be the same again. By the late 60′s, Marshall amps were the backdrop to a rock revolution. Artists such as Jimi Hendrix and The Who rocked out using Marshall products, and Jim continued to develop the technology behind his amps and release new models. In 1984, he was honored with The Queen’s Award For Export.

Almost every guitarist has used a Marshall amp at one point. Slash tweeted his respects to Jim Marshall’s passing – “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!”

A tribute was posted on the official Marshall website:

“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved founder and leader for the past 50 years, Jim Marshall. While mourning the Guv’nor though, we also salute a legendary man who led a full and truly remarkable life.

“Jim’s ascent into the history books as ‘the Father of Loud’ and the man responsible for ‘the Sound of Rock’ is a true rags-to-riches tale. Cruelly robbed of his youth by tubercular bones, Jim rose to become one of the four forefathers responsible for creating the tools that allowed rock guitar as we know and love it today to be born. The groundbreaking quartet also includes the late, great trio of Leo Fender, Les Paul and Seth Lover, together with Jim, they truly are the cornerstones of all things rock.”

“In addition to the creation of the amps chosen by countless guitar heroes and game-changing bands, Jim was also an incredibly humble and generous man who, over the past several decades, has quietly donated many millions of pounds to worthy causes.”

“While the entire Marshall Amplification family mourns Jim’s passing and will miss him tremendously, we all feel richer for having known him and are happy in the knowledge that he is now in a much better place which has just got a whole lot louder!

“Rest in Peace & thank you Jim.

“Your memory; the music and joy your amps have brought to countless millions for the past five decades; and that world-famous, omnipresent script logo that proudly bears your name will always live on.”

You can post your condolences online at Dr Jim Marshall OBE | The Father Of Loud

Read more:

Official Marshall website | Dr Jim Marshall






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