Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads

"As long as I'm satisfied with my work, I'm not too concerned with what any critics think. Our type of music will never be a critical favorite, but when I can stand on a stage and see a lot of smiling faces in the crowd, it makes it all worthwhile." Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads was one of the few guitarists of his era to create a unique signature style rather than just imitating others. Incorporating classical music into his playing was a revelation not only to heavy metal fans but also heavy metal guitarists.

While Randy's first experience of playing in a rock band came at the age of 14 when he formed Violet Fox with his brother Kellie, it was only after seeing Alice Cooper live in 1971 that Randy realized that playing guitar could be his future. To underline his ability at such a young age Randy began to teach guitar to students at the age of 16, emphasizing how they should develop their own style and not just copy others. It was at this age that he also played his first significant part on the music scene, forming Quiet Riot with Kevin DuBrow.

Quiet Riot were a major attraction on the LA scene and, considering that in many cases they were basically playing for free, for the group it was all about the music and the joy of playing. While they couldn't secure a US record deal or put together a US tour they did manage to release two albums in Japan.

Frustrated with the lack of progress Randy tried out for the guitar position in Ozzy Osbourne's group. Randy turned up and after only a few riffs Ozzy offered him the part, he was now the lead guitarist in the Blizzard of Ozz.

With a great rapport developing a world of creative overdrive was entered as Randy's creativity was met by Ozzy's experience and it was Randy's unique style of playing that led to Ozzy's "Blizzard of Ozz" album becoming one of heavy metal's greatest releases. The tracks were a showcase for Randy's talent and enabled the world to see what had previously only been known by LA and Japan. Out of the studio the Randy / Ozzy relationship was just as successful with touring building Randy's confidence in playing live. Randy developed into a true star on stage putting in amazing performances alongside the Ozzy's insane stage antics - he was recognized by audiences as a true guitar genius, the newest sensation in rock and roll.

A subsequent album was recorded, "Diary of a Madman" and while there was some dissatisfaction from Randy (he felt some parts were rushed due to deadlines) his playing was still outstanding. It would be fair to say that his style of playing was had an impact far beyond that of the music it was supporting.

The two albums, coupled with continued touring, was beginning to result in Randy finally getting the recognition he deserved (he won Best New Guitarist award from Guitar Player magazine) when tragedy struck. In March 1982, whilst touring Florida, Randy took an airplane ride that ended with the plane striking the Ozzy Osbourne tour bus. He was killed at the young age of 25.

Ozzy Osbourne was asleep on the bus at the time, years later when asked if he regretted his wild life he simply commented "I have no regrets except that I wasn't up to keep Randy from getting on that plane".

  • Randy's poor upbringing informed his musical style. The family couldn't afford a hi-fi or television so Randy had to develop his style alone without exposure to rock and roll.

  • Randy's mother, Delores, has created a $45,000 scholarship in memory of her son at California State University

  • Before becoming a teenager Randy electric guitar skills were formidable. His guitar teacher reported to Randy's mother that after only a year of lessons there was nothing left to teach him.

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