• Jim Marshall, creator of the Marshall Stack, has passed.
Back in the ‘70s, when I first started playing guitar, there was only one amp I really wanted, a Marshall. Nothing else came close. Marshalls had the dry, tight, crispy crunch that made hard rock sound like hard rock and all I wanted to play was hard rock. Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, UFO, Yesterday and Today, Judas Priest, Rainbow, Free, Bad Company, these were my favorite bands and they all used Marshalls. Word was, of course, that everyone modded their Marshall’s but I imagine that this was more hype than truth. I mean, plug a Les Paul into a Marshall and tell me you need to mod something.
One of my greatest memories is of being in my friend Chris Churchill’s garage with Chris and Rich Erickson and playing the chords to Smoke on the Water through Rich’s new Marshall Half Stack. Eventually I got my own Marshall. First I had a combo thing, can’t remember the model number, but it was supposed to be more versatile than the standard Marshall Super Lead. It was, but it was no Super Lead, which I got later on. What an amp, so loud, so cool looking, so Marshall.
I confess, I’ve never liked the look of the newer Marshalls as much as the classic Super Lead from the ‘70s. The problem is the logo. The older Marshall logo was small, but the new one is big and white and cheap looking. I’m sure the reason for the change to the logo was to make it more visible in venues, but Marshalls were visible, for chrissakes. They were distinctively designed with their angled cabinets, they were about six feet tall, they were unique. Besides, they were Marshalls and sounded like nothing else. They didn’t need a big, fat cheesy logo.
Today, I learned that Jim Marshall died. How is that possible? To me, Marshall was never a human being, but an amp. Truly, I never thought of the man behind the gear, didn’t even know there was a Jim Marshall for years. I know that sounds cold and I don’t mean it to, it’s just the truth. Now that he’s gone, I’m more aware of him than ever and will read up on his life, for he forever changed mine.
Long live Marshall.