The Father of Loud Jim Marshall

On 5 April 2012 Jim Marshall “The Father of Loud” passed away having developed sound systems that have become iconic in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Born and raised in Southall, he started a small music shop at 76 Uxbridge Road, Hanwell W7 3SU just under two miles away from the Ealing Club. In September 1962 he began developing and supplying his own brand of amps with a new raw, dirty and affordable sound.

That uniquely British sound grew in conjunction with the emerging music scene that established itself around the Ealing Club. The March 1962 edition of Jazz News that advertised Alexis Korner’s Ealing rhythm and blues nights also contained an ad for J&T Marshall Musical Instruments.

Cyril Davies, a major inspiration behind many of the first generation of British rock was a customer in Hanwell, purchasing harmonicas from the shop run by the drum teacher Jim Marshall and his son saxophonist Terry Marshall.

Young innovative guitarists were regular visitors. Pete Townshend and John Entwistle of the Who in particular but all of guitarists who played at the Ealing Club are likely to have visited the Marshall shop along with Richie Blackmore, Ronnie Wood, Jeff Beck and Peter Green.

Marshall is, without doubt, the sound of rock. It was heard for the very first time in public one Sunday night in 1963 with the first live performance ever to use the classic ‘loud’ Marshall JTM45 guitar amplifier. The band assembled to test the pre-production amp included future Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell — who worked in the Marshall shop in Hanwell, and saxophonist Terry Marshall, the ‘T’ in ‘JTM’.

Eric Clapton would fall for the warm overdrive of JTM45 amp that the company would develop for him in 1964 into the Bluesbreaker combo. Subsequently, Mitchell — by then an experienced drummer following a year-long weekly residency at the Ealing Club — brought Jimi Hendrix to Hanwell to purchase his amps to use in the Experience.

Since the unveiling on 6 April 2013 of a blue plaque to honour Marshall at the site if his first shop, the annual Hanwell Hootie festival has helped foster an increasingly vibrant live music scene in Hanwell and Ealing.

J&T Marshall Musical Instruments – Marshall Amps

The book The Father of Loud by Rich Maloof published by Backbeat Books in 2004 tells the story of Jim Marshall, founder of Marshall Amplification.

Along with Fender and Les Paul, Marshall Amplification has become an iconic brand amongst guitarists. Jimi Hendrix visited the Marshall shop in Hanwell, to buy his first British amps.
These tools would contribute to the legendary sound, that he perfected in West London.

Marshall sold guitars to Pete Townshend, Ritchie Blackmore, Hendrix, Ronnie Wood and even harmonica’s to Cyril Davies. Jim Marshall taught the drums and Mitch Mitchell who worked at the premises would later join the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

The introduction to The Father of Loud reads as follows:

“It’s a simple story, really. A handful of Brash British youths needed a new sound for a new kind of music. They marched into a music store in their blue-collar [sic] town and asked the gentleman behind the counter to build them an amplifier with leg-shaking power and jaw-dropping tone. So he did.”

The quarterly Magazine “Around Ealing” produced by Ealing Council published an excellent review of Marshall. Thanks to editor Richard Nadal for its reproduction here: