I was a bit young in 78 so I didn't get the full brunt of it like some of you did. But Eddie's tone combined with his style of play (you can't really seperate the two) was like nothing anyone ever hear come out of a Marshall and Strat before. He was unique, new and his techinique, tone and gear influenced an entire generation of players and beyond. You can only really say that about a handful of guitarists. I love his tone on the first album, but I also like how it changed and how he kept searching and tweaking.
The obsession with some guys on getting his tone borders on weird to me. But hey, to each his own. If that's your thing, go for it =).