Brett Moss is gear and technology editor.
In today’s overly hyped media environment, many words lose their gravity. “Hero” is tossed at any firefighter, whether or not they’ve run into a burning building to rescue someone and every teacher punching a clock is called a “hero” these days.
“Icon” is another word that is a shadow of its former meaning.
But Jim Marshall really was an icon. Or perhaps it’s better to say that the humble man himself wasn’t the icon, his eponymous creation was: the Marshall guitar amplifier. Even more so, the “Marshall Stack.”
Without Jim Marshall, rock ’n roll as we know it would be different. There are only a handful of names for which that is honestly true.
That scrolled “Marshall” on a dark background on a stage is almost as familiar as the iconic scroll of “Coca-Cola.”
Yes, there are many brands of perfectly fine amps; but a Marshall amp is considered standard equipment for any successful band or tour. Pretender or pro, Marshall amplifiers achieved the status of a Neumann mic in the studio or a Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster on stage. Or a Les Paul guitar, anywhere.
According to news accounts, Jim Marshall passed away Thursday at 88.