Marshall has been celebrated by some of the world’s greatest bands and musicians including: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Slash, Oasis, Muse, Gorillaz and Slaves. They can be seen on tour with artists like Justin Timberlake and Lana Del Rey. However, none of this would be possible without founder and revolutionary, Jim Marshall OBE.
Jim was born in London on 29 July 1923 and as a child he suffered with tubercular bones which meant that he spent much of his early years hospitalised to the age of 13. At his father’s suggestion he took up tap dancing to strengthen the bones in his legs and he soon discovered that he had a flair for music. Subsequently Jim took up the drums and by the late 1930’s he was teaching and playing professionally. After over 20 years gigging on the road on 7 July 1962, Jim opened a music store, Jim Marshall and Son, in Hanwell, London.
The store sold a variety of musical instruments and attracted many young emerging talents, such as Pete Townshend and Ritchie Blackmore, who were friends of Jim’s drum students. Responding to calls for a new breed of amplifier, Jim and his team worked to produce their own. The first amplifier now known as ‘Number One’ (which is on display at the Marshall factory in Bletchley), attracted 23 orders on its first day in store in September 1962 and would become the first of many JTM45 amps.
Marshall went to another level in 1965 when Pete Townshend demanded his sound to be louder. Jim’s solution was the 100 watt Marshall amplifier, the Super 100 head and, to the horror of roadies everywhere, the Marshall 8x12” speaker cabinet. This was too bulky to transport so was replaced by two stacked 4x12” cabs giving rise to our iconic Marshall Stack. The rest, as they say, is history.