History of Marshall
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 the iconic Marshall Stack. The rest, as they say, is history.
Marshall quickly outgrew the Hanwell shop and moved to Bletchley in 1967 continuing to be pioneers through the remainder of the decade. In 1969 they introduced new PCB technology to maintain their classic tones whilst keeping up with thriving production demands. These demands increased as their name became synonymous with high quality amplifiers thanks to their popularity with The Who and Cream. At the same time Jimi Hendrix was influencing the industry, bringing guitarists to the front of the stage and showcasing the power of Marshall.
The legendary JCM800 launched in 1981 found fame with its bold new look and aggressive modern sound. With lower production costs, this amp was affordable for young bands starting out in the punk or heavy metal genre. Today, the JCM800 re-issue is a favourite of Lzzy Hale, the frontwoman of hard rock band Halestorm.
Expanding with Eden
Marshall had grown into an industry giant and had expanded again in 2011 into the realm of bass amps when they acquired the American bass company Eden. Originally focusing on PA systems, Eden is now famed for its clean bass tones and is a first choice for any session musician. The Eden sound is also a hit with many recording artists including the Stereophonics. The illustrious D-Series cabinets are an industry standard, setting a high bar for bass cabinets.
To complete their support of young musicians, they launched Marshall Records in January 2017. Signing talented bands REWS, Reigning Days and Press to Meco. Mashall's inspiration to form a record label was due to their strong relationship with David Evans from King Creature. After receiving his first amp from them, David’s mother kept them up to date with his progress and it turns out, he is epic. When King Creature was formed, Marshall had to be involved, and therefore offered them a platform to take their music forward. They, along with Reigning Days and REWS, rocked BBC Amplify in October 2017 showcasing the talent Marshall has been able to support.