Rhoads performing in 1981
|Born||December 6, 1956|
Santa Monica, California, United States
|Died||March 19, 1982 25) (aged|
Leesburg, Florida, United States
Randall William Rhoads (December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982)was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne. A devoted student of classical guitar, Rhoads combined his classical music influences with his own heavy metal style. He died in an aircraft crash while on tour with Osbourne in Florida in 1982. Despite his short career, Rhoads, who was a major influence on neoclassical metal, is cited as an influence by many guitarists. Rhoads is included in several "Greatest Guitarist" lists.
Rhoads was born in Santa Monica, California. The youngest of three children, he had a brother named Doug and a sister named Kathy. Doug, who performed under the name "Kelle", is also a musician. Their parents, Delores and William, were both music teachers. In 1958, father William left the family when Randy was 1 year and 5 months oldand remarried, and all three children were subsequently raised by Delores, who also opened a music school in North Hollywood called Musonia to support the family. Delores had received a bachelor's degree in music from UCLA and had played piano professionally.
The Rhoads family did not own a stereo and the children created their own music at home to entertain themselves.Rhoads began taking folk and classical guitar lessons at approximately age 7 at his mother's music school. He soon became interested in electric guitar and began taking lessons at Musonia from an instructor named Scott Shelly. Shelly soon approached Delores to inform her that he could no longer teach her son, as Rhoads' knowledge of the electric guitar had exceeded his own. Rhoads also received piano lessons from his mother to build his understanding of music theory.
Rhoads met future bandmate Kelly Garni while attending John Muir Middle Schooland the two became best friends. According to Garni, the pair were unpopular due to "the way we looked". "Every time we showed up for school it was usually problematic so we pretty much avoided it. We weren't nerds, we weren't jocks, we weren't dopers, we were just on our own". Rhoads taught Garni how to play bass guitar, and together they formed a band called The Whore, rehearsing during the day at Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco, a 1970s Hollywood nightspot. It was during this period that Rhoads learned to play lead guitar. "When I met him he didn't know how to play lead guitar yet at all. He was just starting to take lessons for it and really just riffing around", said Garni. With this band, Rhoads spent several months playing at backyard parties around the Los Angeles area in the mid-1970s. The pair formed a cover band called Violet Fox (after his mother's middle name, Violet), with his older brother Kelle on drums. Violet Fox, who were together for approximately five months, staged several performances in the Grand Salon at Musonia. Among their setlist was "Mississippi Queen" by Mountain, and songs from the Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper and David Bowie. After Violet Fox dissolved, Rhoads formed various other short-lived bands such as The Katzenjammer Kids and Mildred Pierce. The Katzenjammer Kids featured a male lead vocalist who wore dresses on stage, a situation that typically did not go over well and at times led to violent reactions from the audience.
According to Garni, he and Rhoads frequently listened to Long Beach radio station KNAC because it was "the only radio station that would play anything of interest to us", and it was through KNAC that Rhoads discovered much of the music that influenced his playing. The home of a neighbourhood friend with a high quality stereo and large record collection became a regular hangout for the pair, and there they smoked pot and listened to more obscure (at that time) hard rock music such as early Scorpions records. Live bootleg recordings were very popular at that time, and Rhoads began to take note of the differences between studio recordings and the live versions, particularly the different licks guitarists incorporated when playing live. He began to memorize these licks and taught himself to play them later when he returned home.Rhoads' brother states that a July 11, 1971 Alice Cooper concert at the Long Beach Auditorium that the pair attended was a defining point in the guitarist's life. After the concert was over Kelle said "Randy was mesmerized. He was catatonic just staring at the stage. Later that night Randy said "I can do this. I can look like this. I can be this. Something clicked that night and I think that kind of showed him what he could do with his talent." Garni concurs, calling Rhoads' discovery of Alice Cooper "a game changer". Glen Buxton of Alice Cooper and Mick Ronson were two early rock influences on his playing.
At age 16, Rhoads and Garni formed the band Little Women. At approximately the same time, Rhoads began teaching guitar in his mother's school during the day and playing live gigs at night. He graduated from Burbank High School, participating in a special program that allowed him to condense his studies and graduate early so he could teach guitar and pursue music full-time.Recruiting lead vocalist Kevin DuBrow and drummer Drew Forsyth, the band soon changed its name to Quiet Riot. Forsyth had periodically played with Rhoads and Garni in the past, most notably in Mildred Pierce. DuBrow was an L.A. photographer who was not at all what Rhoads had in mind for his new band, and he was not well liked by his Quiet Riot bandmates, a situation that caused a great deal of tension within the band. Rhoads had envisioned a frontman in the vein of Alice Cooper or David Bowie, but Dubrow was persistent and would not take no for an answer. In the end, Rhoads and Garni decided that if nothing else, DuBrow shared their enthusiasm and he was hired.
Quiet Riot quickly became one of the most popular acts on the Los Angeles club circuit, and by late 1976 were signed to CBS/Sony Records. Rhoads' "polka-dot theme" became the visual focal point of the band, as many fans began showing up at Quiet Riot shows wearing polka-dot bow-ties and vests, emulating what the guitarist wore on stage.
While the band had a strong following in Los Angeles, Quiet Riot and Quiet Riot II were released only in Japan.Of perhaps more concern to Rhoads was the fact that the relationship between DuBrow and Garni had deteriorated completely during the recording of the band's second album, with potentially catastrophic results. After drunkenly firing a handgun through the ceiling and engaging in a fistfight with Rhoads, Garni drunkenly hatched a plan to shoot and kill DuBrow at The Record Plant studio while recording the album. Rhoads was left with no choice but to fire his longtime friend and band co-founder.
In 1979, ex-Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne was in Los Angeles, attempting to form a new band. An acquaintance of Rhoads' from the LA club circuit, future Slaughter bassist Dana Strum, phoned Rhoads relentlessly to coax him into auditioning. Rhoads initially told Quiet Riot bandmate Rudy Sarzo that he was not really interested in auditioning, but finally agreed to go simply to get Strum off his back. '". After the audition, Rhoads returned to Musonia and told Sarzo that he had never actually met Osbourne, who was drunk and remained in the studio's control room the entire time. According to Rhoads' own account, it was Strum who emerged from the control room to inform him that he had the job. Rhoads was, however, scheduled to meet Osbourne the following night in his hotel room. In the years following, Osbourne has maintained that his first encounter with Rhoads and the subsequent audition took place the following day at the hotel, and it seems that, in his inebriated state, he combined the two events in his mind. The fact that Osbourne immediately began rehearsals with another guitarist upon returning to England, and did not mention Rhoads until after that guitarist had been fired, seems to confirm that his account of events is inaccurate.Rhoads got the call for the audition just before his final show with Quiet Riot in September 1979. The day before Osbourne was scheduled to return to England, Rhoads agreed to audition for Osbourne at a Los Angeles studio with his Gibson Les Paul guitar and a practice amp and started warming up. Osbourne, who was very inebriated on that day, said of the audition "He played this fucking solo and I'm like, am I that fucking stoned or am I hallucinating or what the fuck is this?!" Osbourne has maintained that he immediately gave him the job. Rhoads recalled later, "I just tuned up and did some riffs, and he said, 'You've got the gig'; I had the weirdest feeling, because I thought, 'You didn't even hear me yet
Over the next couple of days, Rhoads, Osbourne, Strum, and drummer Frankie Banali jammed together before Osbourne returned to England.Disillusioned with Quiet Riot's inability to land an American recording deal, Rhoads discussed with his mother Delores the possibility of joining an already established band. When she asked him if he would accept "an offer like this one", the guitarist replied "Of course!"
Upon returning to England, Osbourne was introduced to ex-Rainbow bassist Bob Daisley by a Jet Records employee named Arthur Sharpe in a pub,and the pair hit it off and decided to work together. Unhappy with the guitarist they were initially working with, Osbourne mentioned to Daisley that he had recently met a talented young guitarist in Los Angeles by the name of Randy Rhoads. The new group's management intended to keep the lineup all-British and was reluctant to hire an unknown American guitarist, but manager Don Arden eventually relented. Rhoads flew to England only to return home a couple of days later, being turned away by English customs at Heathrow Airport when he didn't have the necessary work permit. A representative from Jet Records was dispatched to clear the matter up but he never arrived, and Rhoads spent the night in a holding cell before being handcuffed and put on a plane back to the United States the next day. Osbourne subsequently called him to apologize, and arrangements were made for Rhoads to return to England with the proper paperwork. Rhoads flew to England on November 27, 1979, and met with Osbourne and Daisley at the Jet Records' offices in London. The trio traveled by train to Osbourne's home, Bulrush Cottage, which also housed a rehearsal space. It was here that Rhoads lived with Osbourne, his then-wife Thelma, and their two children, during his first weeks in England. Years later, Osbourne said in his autobiography that he could not understand why a musician as talented as Rhoads would want to get involved with a "bloated alcoholic wreck" like himself.
After a short search, former Uriah Heep drummer Lee Kerslake completed the new band, then known as The Blizzard of Ozz. ... so we made a rule that almost every number that we recorded on an album was never played in the same key." Following a UK tour the band recorded another album, Diary of a Madman . During a break before leaving for their first US tour, both Kerslake and Daisley were suddenly fired by Sharon Arden, the band's manager and Osbourne's future wife. For the US tour, ex-Black Oak Arkansas drummer Tommy Aldridge and bassist Rudy Sarzo – who had been Rhoads' bandmate in Quiet Riot – were hired. Diary of a Madman was released soon after in October 1981, and since Kerslake and Daisley were already out of the band, Aldridge and Sarzo's names and photos appeared on the album sleeve. Disputes over royalties performance and other intellectual property rights became a source of future court battles. Kerslake has maintained that Rhoads almost left Osbourne's band in late 1981 due to his displeasure with the firing of Kerslake and Daisley. "He didn't want to go [on tour with Osbourne]. We told him we were thrown out. He said he was going to leave the band as he did not want to leave us behind. I told him not to be stupid but thanks for the sentiment", the drummer later recalled.The group headed into the studio to record their debut album, titled Blizzard of Ozz . Rhoads' guitar playing had changed due to the level of freedom allowed by Osbourne and Daisley and he was encouraged to play what he wanted. His work with Quiet Riot had been criticized as being "dull" and did not rely on classical scales or arrangements. Propelled by Rhoads' neo-classical guitar work, the album proved an instant hit with rock fans, particularly in the US. They released two singles from the album: "Mr. Crowley" and the hit "Crazy Train". Osbourne said years later, "One day Randy came to me and said that most heavy metal songs are written in an A to E chord structure. He said, 'Let's try to change that'
Aldridge, who Rhoads had regarded as his favorite drummer since seeing him perform on television with Black Oak Arkansas in the 1970s, has said that working with a musician as talented as Rhoads "was inspirational. It was life-changing". From a musical standpoint, he has said that playing with Rhoads was the high point of his career, stating "It was very exciting. From a musical perspective, it was probably the high-water mark of my career. Working with people like Randy Rhoads, guys like that, they kind of grab you by the scruff of your neck and lift you up to their level."
Around this time, Rhoads remarked to Osbourne, bandmates Aldridge and Sarzo, and friend Kelly Garni that he was considering leaving rock for a few years to earn a degree in classical guitar at UCLA. In the 1991 documentary film Don't Blame Me, Osbourne confirmed Rhoads' desire to earn the degree and stated that had he lived, he did not believe Rhoads would have stayed in his band. Friend and ex-Quiet Riot bassist Garni has speculated in interviews that if Rhoads had continued to play rock, he might have gone the route of more keyboard-driven rock, which had become popular through the 1980s. It was at this time that Rhoads was beginning to receive recognition for his playing. Just before his death Jackson Guitars created a signature model, the Jackson Randy Rhoads (though Rhoads had originally called his white pinstriped V "the Concorde"). Rhoads received one prototype – a black offset V hardtail that is the basis of today's RR line of Jackson guitars – but died before the guitar went into production. Rhoads also received the Best New Talent award from Guitar Player magazine. While on tour with Osbourne, Rhoads would seek out classical guitar tutors for lessons whenever possible.
At the time of his death, Rhoads had already made the decision to part ways with Osbourne once his contractual obligations had been fulfilled. Though he had a good relationship with Osbourne, the vocalist's constant drug and alcohol abuse made day-to-day life on tour difficult for the members of his band. As the Diary of a Madman US tour progressed, Osbourne would often refuse to perform due to the lingering after-effects of the previous night's excesses, and only Sharon could talk him into taking the stage. Many shows were simply canceled, and Rhoads grew tired of the unpredictability. The final straw came when a plan was announced in February 1982 by Osbourne's management and record label to record a live album of Black Sabbath songs at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens later that year. Rhoads and bandmate Tommy Aldridge felt that they had established themselves as recording artists, and they regarded an album of cover songs to be a step backwards artistically and professionally. Thus, they refused to participate in the planned live recording. Osbourne viewed this decision as a betrayal, and the relationship between him and Rhoads became quite strained. Already drinking heavily, Osbourne's drinking increased and began to tear the band apart. At one point he drunkenly fired the entire band, including Rhoads, though he later had no memory of doing so. He began taunting Rhoads with claims that the likes of Frank Zappa and Gary Moore were willing to replace him on the proposed live album. Osbourne's unstable and confrontational behavior soon convinced Rhoads to leave the band. He grudgingly agreed to perform on the live album with the stipulation that he would depart after fulfilling his contractual obligations to Jet Records, which consisted of one more studio album and subsequent tour. The proposed live album was scrapped upon the guitarist's sudden death weeks later, though the plan was quickly resurrected with the release of Speak of the Devil in November of that year.
Rhoads played his last show on Thursday, March 18, 1982, at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.The next day, the band was heading to a festival in Orlando, Florida. Osbourne recalls his final conversation with Rhoads that night on the bus involved the guitarist admonishing him over his heavy drinking. The last thing Rhoads said to him that night was, "You'll kill yourself, you know? One of these days."
After driving much of the night, they stopped at Flying Baron Estates in Leesburg, Florida, to fix a malfunctioning air conditioning unit on the bus while Osbourne remained asleep.On the property, owned by the Calhoun Brothers tour bus company, there was an airstrip with small helicopters and planes. Without permission, tour bus driver and private pilot Andrew Aycock took a single-engine Beechcraft F35 plane registered to a Mike Partin. On the first flight, Aycock took keyboardist Don Airey and tour manager Jake Duncan with him as passengers. During this first flight, Duncan later revealed that Aycock "buzzed" the bus in an attempt to wake drummer Tommy Aldridge. The group then landed and a second flight soon took to the air with Rhoads and makeup artist Rachel Youngblood aboard. Though afraid of flying, Rhoads wanted to take some aerial photos of the countryside for his mother. He had tried unsuccessfully to coax bassist Rudy Sarzo to join him on the flight; Sarzo chose to get some extra sleep instead.
During the second flight, more attempts were made to "buzz" the tour bus.Aycock succeeded in making two close passes, but botched the third attempt. At about 10 a.m., after being in the air for approximately five minutes, one of the plane's wings clipped the top of the tour bus, breaking the wing into two parts and sending the plane spiraling out of control. The initial impact with the bus caused Rhoads' and Youngblood's heads to crash through the plane's windshield. The plane then severed the top of a pine tree and crashed into the garage of a nearby mansion, bursting into flames. Rhoads (25) was killed instantly, as were Aycock (36) and Youngblood (58). All three bodies were burned beyond recognition, and Rhoads was identified by dental records and personal jewelry. According to Sharon Osbourne, who was asleep in the bus and awoken by the crash, "They were all in bits, it was just body parts everywhere". Though the entire group were quite distraught, the remaining band and crew members were forced to remain in Leesburg for an additional two days, until preliminary investigations were completed. Rhoads' brother-in-law flew from California to Leesburg to identify the guitarist's remains. Ozzy Osbourne's official statement to crash investigators was:
At approximately 9:00 a.m. on Friday, March 19, 1982, I was awoken from my sleep by a loud explosion. I immediately thought that we'd hit a vehicle on the road. I got out of the bed, screaming to my fiancée, Sharon, 'Get off the bus.' Meanwhile, she was screaming to everyone else to get off the bus. After getting out of the bus, I saw that a plane had crashed. I didn't know who was on the plane at the time. When we realized that our people were on the plane, I found it very difficult to get assistance from anyone to help. In fact, it took almost a half-hour before anyone arrived. One small fire engine arrived, which appeared to squirt three gallons of water over the inferno. We asked for further assistance, such as telephones, and didn't receive any further help. In the end, we finally found a telephone and Sharon phoned her father.
Keyboardist Don Airey was the only member of the band to witness the crash, as the rest were still asleep in the bus.In his account, he explained that he was standing beside the bus taking photos which he planned on giving to Rhoads later. He told of seeing a struggle between Rhoads and Aycock in the cockpit as the plane approached the bus, seconds before the crash. He gave the following eyewitness account:
I had my camera and was taking photos of the plane to give to Randy afterwards. I had my telephoto lens on and could tell that there was some sort of struggle going on board the plane. The wings were rapidly tipping from side to side. At one point the plane almost became perpendicular, no more than six feet off the ground. That's when I put down my camera and saw the plane right in front of me. I quickly crouched to avoid getting hit and looked over my shoulder and watched it clip the bus, crash into the tree and explode on impact into the garage.
As the band members on board the bus were all shaken from their bunks by the impact and tried to figure out what had happened, bassist Sarzo recalls side-stepping broken glass in his bare feet and looking through the gaping hole to see tour manager Jake Duncan outside rocking back and forth on the ground screaming "They're gone! They're gone!" Drummer Tommy Aldridge took a fire extinguisher from the bus and ran towards the crash site in a vain attempt to put out the fire. Tour manager Duncan, who had been on board the first flight, explained that although he had been concerned about the pilot's behaviour, there was no sense of foreboding:
It all seemed so innocent. When we arrived this morning, Andy offered Don and me to take us up. I must admit it got a bit scary when he started buzzing the bus trying to wake Tommy up. But after a few attempts we just landed. That was it.
Rhoads was afraid of flying and Youngblood had a bad heart. Rhoads originally had no intention of getting in the plane, and Duncan explained how the guitarist ended up on the doomed flight:
Well, right after we landed Andy came up to me and told me that he was going to take Rachel up for a ride. And that being aware of her heart condition he assured me that he was just going to take it easy, circle the property a couple of times and not pull any crazy stunts. So when Randy heard that, he decided to join them so he could take some aerial shots with his camera.
The band was scheduled to perform at an outdoor festival called Rock Super Bowl XIV later that day in Orlando. Though the event was not canceled, promoters offered refunds to all ticket holders.
Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake, who had recorded Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman with Rhoads and had been recently fired from Osbourne's band, were together in Houston, Texas, with Uriah Heep later that day when they got word of the accident. Kerslake recalled the moment he heard the news:
I was already sitting at the bar when Bob Daisley came into the bar. I turned and looked at Bob and said, 'Fuck, you have gone all white. What is wrong?' Bob said, 'Lee, there was a plane crash this morning and Randy was in it ... and he is dead.' That was it. Oh God, to hear that – I just turned and cried my eyes out. Bob and me were crying our eyes out over him, cause we loved him. He was such a lovely guy.
Rhoads' longtime girlfriend Jody was in her car when she recalls hearing a block of songs from Blizzard of Ozz on the radio before the DJ announced the accident and the news that Rhoads had been killed. She was too distraught to continue driving.When close friend and future Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali heard the news, he frantically got in touch with Rudy Sarzo to make sure he was OK. He immediately sensed that Sarzo was having a hard time continuing without Rhoads.
In the hours following the crash, the band and crew called loved ones to assure them that they were safe, as news reports hadn't yet named the victims. Sarzo found a church near the hotel they had been taken to and went inside to pray. The church was empty aside from one man at the front, crying uncontrollably near the altar. Sarzo was moved by the overwhelming grief this man was dealing with. Eventually the man cried out "Why? Why?" and at that point Sarzo realized it was Osbourne.
When fellow guitarist Eddie Van Halen learned about the crash he sensed immediately that the pilot "had to have been fucked up when it happened", saying in an early 1982 radio interview, "You don't fly that low and smash into a crew bus and then hit the house. (The pilot) was jerking off. That's just plain stupidity. I feel so sorry for (Rhoads)."
Aycock's estranged wife Wanda had spent that last night on the bus and the band were well aware that the driver was attempting to reconcile with her. Witnesses described the driver's state of mind as agitated in the hours before the fatal crash. According to witnesses, Wanda emerged from inside the bus shortly after the second flight took off and was standing in the doorway watching the plane as Aycock made his final approach. Airey and Sarzo both surmise that Aycock, having suddenly seen his estranged ex-wife appear, may have snapped and made the impulsive decision to kill her by crashing the plane into the bus. Speculation regarding motives aside, Sarzo believes that the driver/pilot's troubled emotional state that day, worsened by the effects of the cocaine and the fact that he hadn't slept, was directly responsible for the accident. Given the struggle in the cockpit described by eyewitness Don Airey, Sarzo came to the conclusion that Rhoads' actions in the last seconds of his life prevented a direct hit with the bus, which would have potentially killed the pilot's ex-wife as well as everyone else on board.
Ozzy Osbourne later admitted that Aycock had been seen doing cocaine all night prior to the crash.It was later confirmed after autopsy that Aycock's system had tested positive for cocaine. Rhoads' toxicology test revealed only nicotine. The NTSB investigation determined that Aycock's aviation medical certificate had expired and that Aycock had been the pilot in another fatal crash in the United Arab Emirates six years earlier. Sharon had been aware of that prior crash but hadn't informed tour manager Jake Duncan or anyone else of Aycock's history. In the moments after the crash, she immediately admonished tour manager Duncan for allowing their people into a plane with a pilot who had been awake and using drugs all night, telling him "Don't you know that man had already killed one of the Calhoun's kids in a helicopter crash?"
Rhoads' funeral was held at the First Lutheran Church in Burbank, California. Serving as pallbearers at the funeral were Osbourne, Aldridge, Sarzo, and Rhoads' former Quiet Riot bandmate Kevin DuBrow.On his coffin were flowers and two photos of the guitarist, one showing himself and Osbourne on stage in San Francisco. Rhoads was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino, California. On his tomb is the inscription "An inspiration for all young people".
As a tribute to Rhoads, Marshall Amplification released the 1959RR at NAMM 2008. The amp is a limited-edition all-white Marshall Super Lead 100-watt head modeled after Rhoads' own Super Lead amp. Marshall engineers looked extensively at Rhoads' actual amplifier and made the 1959RR to those exact specifications, down to the special high-gain modification Rhoads requested when he visited the Marshall factory in 1980.
Jackson Guitars released an exact replica of Rhoads' original white "shortwing" V. His original guitar was handled, photographed, and measured extensively by Jackson's luthiers to produce the most precise replica possible. The guitar comes with black gaffer's tape covering the top wing and the back of the guitar, just like Rhoads'. Only 60 of the guitars were manufactured, each with the symbolic price tag of $12,619.56, which is Rhoads' birthday.In 2010, Gibson Guitars announced a new custom shop signature guitar modeled after Rhoads' 1974 Les Paul Custom. In April 2011, author Joel McIver announced the publication of the first fully comprehensive Rhoads biography, Crazy Train: The High Life and Tragic Death of Randy Rhoads, with a foreword written by Zakk Wylde and an afterword by Yngwie Malmsteen. In June 2012, Velocity Publishing Group announced a comprehensive Rhoads biography, written by Steven Rosen and Andrew Klein, and containing over 400 pages of material.
May 31, 2011, marked the 30th anniversary and remaster-release of Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. Both albums were remastered and restored to their original state with Bob Daisley's bass and Lee Kerslake's drums intact. Blizzard has three bonus tracks: "You, Looking at Me, Looking at You", "Goodbye to Romance" (2010 Vocal & Guitar Mix), and "RR" (Randy Rhoads in-studio guitar solo). Originally, Diary was to include long fade-out versions of "You Can't Kill Rock and Roll", "Tonight", and "Diary of a Madman" (2010 Re-mix version), but they were not included in the re-issue. The Legacy version of Diary of a Madman includes a second CD called Ozzy Live, a live album pulled together from multiple performances on the 1981 Blizzard of Ozz tour.This performance features the same line-up as the Tribute album. Also included exclusively in the special box set are the 180-gram vinyl versions of the original albums, a 100-page coffee table book and the DVD Thirty Years After the Blizzard, which includes unreleased Rhoads video footage.
Producer Kevin Churko, who mixed the 2010 Ozzy Live CD, has stated that Epic Records has "a lot more in the vault" for future releases of Rhoads' material with Osbourne, as many of the band's live performances from that era were recorded.
On January 18, 2017, Rhoads was inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History for defining heavy metal lead guitar.
Rhoads stood 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm) tall and weighed 105 pounds (48 kg). His older brother Kelle is also a musician while older sister Kathy operates a vineyard.
Rhoads was an avid collector of toy trains, and traveled around England in search of them when he first arrived from the United States to record Blizzard of Ozz in 1980.
Though their relationship was largely a professional one, Rhoads had a brief sexual relationship with manager Sharon Arden in 1981. Rhoads told bandmate and close friend Rudy Sarzo that he and Arden were having a few celebratory drinks together in a hotel one night and ended up sleeping together. At the time, Ozzy Osbourne was trying to save his marriage to first wife Thelma, and Sharon was just his manager.
Osbourne has said that Rhoads did not use drugs and drank very little, preferring Anisette when he did drink. Osbourne says that while Rhoads did not like to party, he made up for it by smoking heavily, saying "He could have won a gold medal in the Lung Cancer Olympics, could Randy Rhoads."
According to his brother Kelle, Rhoads was a "fairly devout" Lutheran.
Rhoads' mother Delores Rhoads died on November 11, 2015, at the age of 95.
In the years since his death Rhoads' work has been very influential, with highly regarded players such as Dimebag Darrell,John Petrucci, Zakk Wylde, Michael Romeo, Alexi Laiho, Mick Thomson, Paul Gilbert Buckethead, and Mike McCready listing him as a primary influence.
Rhoads' talent was not always met with such praise during his lifetime. Fellow guitarist Eddie Van Halen was somewhat dismissive of Rhoads' playing, saying in 1982 "Everything he did he learned from me" and "I don't really think he did anything that I haven't done", but said that "He was good".J. D. Considine of Rolling Stone Magazine was critical of his playing, referring to Rhoads in his review of Diary Of A Madman as "a junior-league Eddie Van Halen – bustling with chops but somewhat short on imagination". Years later, however, the magazine listed Rhoads as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
Rhoads was influenced by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as a child and would imitate their performances with his brother Kelle in the family garage.His biggest influences as a guitarist were Leslie West, Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Gary Moore, Charlie Christian, and John Williams.
Shortly before leaving Quiet Riot in 1979, Rhoads presented hand-drawn pictures of a polka-dot Flying V-style guitar to Karl Sandoval, a California luthier. The guitar Sandoval built for Rhoads became one of the guitarist's trademark instruments.
Rhoads used a relatively simple setup, with a small number of guitars, effects and favored amplifiers. He preferred .009 gauge on Blizzard of Ozz and .010 gauge strings on Diary of a Madman
In December 2019, Ozzy Osbourne offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of several pieces of equipment, most of it once belonging to Rhoads, stolen from the premises of Musonia music school on the night of November 28, 2019. Among the items stolen were a 1963 Harmony Rocket (Rhoads' first electric guitar), a Peavey Amp Head which was part of Quiet Riot's original stage gear, a very rare Randy Rhoads Series Marshall Head (Prototype No. 1 or 2 donated to the Rhoads family by the Marshall Company), and a Great Depression-era Silver Fresh Besson trumpet originally owned by Delores Rhoads, as well as numerous gifts from fans, memorabilia, all photos of Rhoads, and other "miscellaneous instruments".
John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne is an English singer, songwriter, actor, and television personality. He rose to prominence during the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, during which period he adopted the nickname "Prince of Darkness". Osbourne was fired from the band in 1979 due to alcohol and drug problems, but went on to have a successful solo career, releasing 12 studio albums, the first seven of which received multi-platinum certifications in the US. Osbourne has since reunited with Black Sabbath on several occasions. He rejoined in 1997 and helped record the group's final studio album, 13 (2013), before they embarked on a farewell tour that ended with a February 2017 performance in their hometown, Birmingham, England. His longevity and success have earned him the informal title "Godfather of Metal".
Quiet Riot is an American heavy metal band founded in 1973 by guitarist Randy Rhoads and bassist Kelly Garni. The band is ranked at No. 100 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.
Blizzard of Ozz is the debut studio album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, released on 20 September 1980 in the UK and on 27 March 1981 in the US. The album was Osbourne's first release following his firing from Black Sabbath in 1979. Blizzard of Ozz is the first of two studio albums Osbourne recorded with guitarist Randy Rhoads prior to Rhoads' death in 1982. In 2017, it was ranked 9th on Rolling Stone's list of "100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time".
Diary of a Madman is the second studio album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. It was released on 7 November 1981, and re-issued on CD on 22 August 1995. This is the last Osbourne studio album to feature guitarist Randy Rhoads and drummer Lee Kerslake. An altered version appeared in 2002 with the original bass and drum parts removed and re-recorded. In 2011, a Deluxe 30th Anniversary Edition was released with all original parts restored. To date, the album has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
Tribute is a live album by heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, featuring his work with hard rock guitarist Randy Rhoads, in whose honor the album was released. The album was released on 19 March 1987, five years after the death of Rhoads, then it was reissued on 22 August 1995, and again remastered and reissued in 2002. It peaked at number 6 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
The Ozzman Cometh is a compilation album by British heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne released in 1997. It is his third greatest hits collection. Its initial, limited edition 2-CD pressing contained five previously unreleased songs. Versions released in 2002 and later have only one disc, and the song "Shot in the Dark" is replaced by "Miracle Man". This was due to a legal action brought about by the song's co-writer, Phil Soussan, for unpaid royalties.
"Crazy Train" is the first single from British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne's debut solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, released in 1980. It is also his first solo single. A live version of the song recorded in 1981 from the album Tribute was also released as a single in 1987 with an accompanying music video. The song was written by Osbourne, Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley. The lyrics deal with the subject of the Cold War and the fear of annihilation that existed during this period.
Living Loud was a recording project featuring bass player and songwriter Bob Daisley, Uriah Heep drummer Lee Kerslake, guitarist Steve Morse of Deep Purple and Cold Chisel singer Jimmy Barnes. Deep Purple keyboards player Don Airey made a guest appearance.
Robert John Daisley is an Australian musician, songwriter and author. Daisley is perhaps best known for working with English musician Ozzy Osbourne, for whom he contributed bass, backing vocals, co-production and songwriting. He has also worked with prominent rock acts including Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Gary Moore and Uriah Heep, amongst others.
"Mr. Crowley" is a song by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne about English occultist Aleister Crowley. It was first released on Osbourne's debut solo album Blizzard of Ozz in September 1980 in the United Kingdom, and then a live version of the song was released as a single in November 1980. The song was written by Osbourne, guitarist Randy Rhoads, and bass guitarist/lyricist Bob Daisley.
Rudy Sarzo is a Cuban born American hard rock/heavy metal bassist. Sarzo remains best known for his work with Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, and Whitesnake, and has also played with several well known heavy metal and hard rock acts including Manic Eden, Dio, Blue Öyster Cult, Geoff Tate's Queensrÿche and Devil City Angels. He is currently the bass player for The Guess Who.
Lee Kerslake is an English musician, best known as the longtime drummer and backing vocalist for the rock band Uriah Heep and for his work with Ozzy Osbourne in the early 1980s.
"Suicide Solution" is a song performed by heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, which appears on his 1980 album Blizzard of Ozz.
Quiet Riot II is the second studio album by heavy metal band Quiet Riot, released in 1978. As with their first album, it was a Japan-only release. Although Rudy Sarzo is pictured and credited, the recordings were made while bassist Kelly Garni was still in the band.
"Over the Mountain" is the opening track of heavy metal musician Ozzy Osbourne's album Diary of a Madman. The song debuted at number 42 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart and reached number 38. The song was written by Osbourne, Bob Daisley, Lee Kerslake and Randy Rhoads. The song was later included on the Ozzy Osbourne compilation albums, The Ozzman Cometh on 11 November 1997, The Essential Ozzy Osbourne on 11 February 2003 and Prince of Darkness on 22 March 2005. Fozzy did a cover of the song with Butch Walker on vocals and guitar.
Living Loud is the self-titled debut album by the hard rock project Living Loud, formed by bass guitarist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake in 2003. Both men had previously recorded with Ozzy Osbourne, writing and recording on the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman albums. Australian rock singer Jimmy Barnes and Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse were also part of the project. Keyboard player Don Airey, who also worked on Osbourne's albums with Kerslake and Daisley, recorded his parts of the album at his home studio in London. Half the songs were originals and half were covers from Osbourne's first two albums, which Kerslake and Daisley had co-written.
The Blizzard of Ozz Tour was the debut concert tour as a solo artist by British vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, who had been fired from the English group Black Sabbath a year prior. The tour started on September 12, 1980 and concluded on September 13, 1981.
The Diary of a Madman Tour was the second concert tour by English heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. It was undertaken in support of Osbourne's second album Diary of a Madman and covered Europe, North America, and Asia. This was Rhoads's last tour as he died in a plane crash at a small airport in Leesburg, Florida, on March 19, 1982, during the first leg of the tour. The band took a two-week break after his death. Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne restarted the tour with ex-Gillan guitarist Bernie Tormé, who only performed a couple of shows before being replaced by future Night Ranger guitarist, Brad Gillis.
The Speak of the Devil Tour was the third tour by English heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne, in support of his first live album, Speak of the Devil, released on November 27, 1982. There were three phases in this tour: the "Speak of the Devil" shows, the Europe leg and the North America leg. The band, featuring Brad Gillis on guitar, Rudy Sarzo on bass and Tommy Aldridge on drums, performed two shows at The Ritz in New York City on September 26 and 27, 1982, where the sets consisted of only Black Sabbath songs. These appeared on the live album Speak of the Devil. 1982 saw Ozzy with Brad Gillis at the Texas Jam in August still in support of the Diary tour which consisted of Sabbath + Diary and Blizzard tunes the result was a blistering set Over the Mountain; Mr. Crowley; Crazy Train; Revelation ; Steal Away ; Suicide Solution; Goodbye to Romance; Flying High Again; Believer; Sweet Leaf; Children of the Grave; Iron Man. Encore: Paranoid.. In December, the band, featuring former UFO bassist Pete Way on bass after Sarzo left in October, and Lindsay Bridgwater on keyboards after Don Airey left in August, began the "Speak of the Devil Tour" with seven shows in the United Kingdom. The band, featuring the former-Ratt and Rough Cutt guitarist, Jake E. Lee, who made his debut as lead guitarist after Gillis left in December, and future W.A.S.P. bassist Don Costa on bass after Way left in December, kicked off the Europe leg in January 1983 opening for Whitesnake. In February 1983, the band started the North America leg with Vandenberg as a supporting act. The Bark at the Moon line-up was intact once Bob Daisley rejoined the band before the US Festival show on May 29, 1983.
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