Randall William Rhoads was born on December 6, 1956.
On March 19, 1982, way too soon, he was taken from us.
As the story goes, legendary rocker and madman Ozzy Osbourne, who at the time had left Black Sabbath under rather hostile circumstances, decided to go solo. After trying out a ton of aspiring guitarists, Randy Rhoads blew him away with out actually auditioning. He was merely tuning his guitar.
Ozzy’s first solo album, Blizzard of Ozz remains one of the best Hard Rock / Metal albums ever recorded. The follow up, Diary of a Madman, is even better. Yes Ozzy’s signature singing style is very important to the albums’ success, as are his at times controversial lyrics. But it was the guitar work of Randy Rhoads that make those albums still significant today.
Whether it be the classic riff from Crazy Train, the wailing solos on Over The Mountain and Flying High Again, or the haunting sounds of Diary’s title track, Randy had a style all his own. A style that to this day continues to be imitated, albeit never duplicated.
But apparently the only things bigger than Randy’s talent was his heart and character. In a time when rock and roll was all about extravagance and debauchery, Randy avoided the “party scene”…which couldn’t be easy as an integral part of Osbourne’s band, and instead focused on what he loved most, his family and the guitar. His biggest fan may well have been his mother Delores, for which he recorded the beautiful acoustic solo instrumental Dee, her nickname. It was a wonderful peace which displayed not only his talent, but his respect and admiration for classical guitar.
Tragically, at the height of his popularity, one of Osbourne’s tour planes crashed in Leesburg, Florida. March 19, 1982, at just 26 years of age, Randy Rhoads was dead.
Many years later, Ozzy said that he still thought of Randy ever day…
It's been twenty years. He’d be 46 now.
Who knows what amazing music he would have written had he lived.
We’ll never know, but we could only imagine.