Jim Marshall, who changed the course of rock history or at least made it much louder with his invention of the Marshall amplifier, died last week at the age of 88. A message posted at the website of Marshall Amplification, the company he founded 50 years ago, stated, "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 included the late, great trio of Leo Fender, Les Paul and Seth Lover -- together with Jim, they truly are the cornerstones of all things rock." The site described Marshall as "a legendary man who led a full and truly remarkable life." The cause of Marshall's death was not announced.
A former singer, drummer and music shop owner, Marshall eventually landed a job as an electrical engineer that helped him design a transportable amplifier to use at his own live shows. Consulting with musicians like the Who's Pete Townshend and Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore, Marshall refined his invention and opened Marshall Amplification in 1962.
By the mid-1960s, he had created the classic Marshall Stack, consisting of one head containing the actual amplifier, on top of two stacked loudspeaker cabinets each containing four 12-inch loudspeakers arranged in a square layout. The setup has become an iconic symbol of rock music played as loud as possible.
REACTIONS TO THE DEATH OF JIM MARSHALL:
Slash: "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!"
Sevendust's John Connolly: "Terribly sad to hear Jim's passing. Not sure what popular music would be like if he hadn't invented the high gain amplifier. My most prized possession is my 1971 Super Tremolo and I'll never get rid of it and it is part of every record I make. God bless him and his family."
Egypt Central: "Jim Marshall was one of the most influential creators and craftsmen in music history. His ideas gave way to some of the greatest scrapes of music ever created. He will be missed and honored in the art world forever."
John 5 of Rob Zombie's band wrote: "Sad to hear about the death of the king of loud, Mr Jim Marshall."
Scott Ian of Anthrax wrote: "Just heard about Jim Marshall passing... I am lucky to have spent time with the man that created the sound of Rock music. A true LEGEND."