Randy Rhoads Tribute

On March 19, 1982 : Randy Rhoads dies at the age of 25.

Randy Rhoads played a major part in the bizarre creative impulses of the Ozzy Osbourne rock group.

Rhoads, 25, who lived in Burbank, Calif., joined the Osbourne group without even auditioning, group leader Osbourne is quoted as saying. "He was only tuning up his guitar when I said, 'You've got the gig. Phenomenal!"

Osbourne said, "I have a feeling about people.You could be the greatest player in the world, but if you haven't got the feeling that I want to get, I don't go for it. Randy (had) presence."

Rhoads and two other people - Andrew Aycock, 36, of Leesburg, the plane's pilot, and a hairdresser for the group, Rachel Youngblood, 58, of Los Angeles - were killed when the Beechcraft Bonanza they were in clipped the Osbourne tour bus, splintered a pine tree and slammed in the side of a house at Flying Baron Estates, three miles west of the city on a private airfield. Witnesses said the plane circled the airport low three times and on the third pass fell below the tree line and hit the bus.

The plush traveling bus, equipped with stereo, television and video games, received minor damage. Several broken side windows and a punctured side panel were evidence of the disaster. The two story house owned by Voncile Calhoun is considered to be a total loss. The roof, upper bedrooms and garage were completely gutted by fire. Firefighters on the scene said there was probably structural damage to the concrete block walls of the home. Two cars, an Oldsmobile and a Ford Granada, were also destroyed when the plane hit the wall and splashed gasoline over the area.

The group was in the Central Florida area to play at the Tangerine Bowl's annual event, Rock Superbowl XIV, scheduled to begin Saturday morning at 11 a.m. with such groups as Foreigner, Bryan Adams and UFO. Osbourne canceled the group's appearance Friday evening a spokesman for the promoters, Beachclub Productions, said, adding that anyone with tickets may get a refund if they wished, though the show will go on as scheduled. At the crash site, one victim was found outside the window of the garage, just below where the plane struck the wall, while the other two were inside, one beside and one atop the burned out automobiles.

Fiberglass from the explosive impact of the plane was scattered over more than an acre, with no part of the plane larger than a telephone except the one crumpled wing which hit the bus. Four persons in the bus, including John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne himself, plus two more in the house, escaped the flames, and later the group found rooms at Leesburg's Hilco Inn, remaining in seclusion. Sheriff's Department spokesman said they were shaken and upset.

Rhoads was voted Best New Guitarist by Guitar Player magazine poll and chosen as England's Best Heavy Metal Guitarist for 1981 by Sounds magazine. Rhoads and another band member, Rudy Sarzo, a bass player, were also veterans of Quiet Riot, a group which had two successful albums in Japan, but couldn't get an American contract. Osbourne is well known for his bizarre stage antics and special effects; such as biting the heads from bats and doves and "hanging" a man on stage until he is "dead".

Osbourne has been called "a true geek in a world of make-believe sickies...a hulking, mugging, leering parody of a devil worshiper" in magazine articles. However, beneath his gross exterior lies some creative talent, and he and Rhoads put together two cult albums, "The Blizzard of Ozz" and "Diary of a Madman." plus another that is scheduled to be released soon. Rhoads was instrumental in writing and arranging many of the album's songs with Osbourne and others.

Osbourne himself is a veteran Heavy-Metal performer. He was previously with Black Sabbath, with whom he broke two years ago. While Sheriff's Department investigators work and a Federal Aviation Authority representative flew in to determine the cause of the crash, fans may well be contemplating the irony of one of Rhoads' and Osbourne's last songs, "Flying high Again." and it's lyrics:

"Got a crazy feeling I don't understand - Gotta get away from here Feeling like I shoulda kept my feet on the ground - Waiting for the sun to appear." 

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