1981: A new innovation – the JCM800

In 1981, Marshall was able to lower the retail prices of amps to make them more affordable. Garage bands and hobby groups suddenly found themselves able to recreate the stadium-worthy sounds of the era’s great headliners. As sales surged and the brand grew bigger, we soon moved to expand on our already-revered product range.

Marshall amplification assembly in the ‘80s.

One of the most significant new additions was the JCM800 – named for Jim Marshall’s initials and the number plate on his car. This was the first Marshall amp to include an in-built master volume, and it also offered a stylish new aesthetic via the gold panel and grille cloth covering. With Jim’s own signature embellished across the front, the new look would become iconic in the years that followed.

The JCM800 was lapped up by punk rockers and heavy metal bands alike, who appreciated its aggressive, high-gain sound.

Adverts for Marshall gear in the ‘80s leaned into popular genres like glam and heavy metal, and even riffed on popular films like Star Wars.

The JCM800 was lapped up by punk rockers and heavy metal bands alike, who appreciated its aggressive, high-gain sound. The model subsequently became the amp of choice for all kinds of rock acts – AC/DC, The Ramones, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bring Me The Horizon included.

From 1980s Marshall brochure.