Remembering “Randy Rhoads” the most beloved neo-classical metal performer ever!!


Randall William “Randy” Rhoads (December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982), the lead guitarist for heavy metal star Ozzy Osbourne, was killed when the plane in which he was flying buzzes Osbourne’s tour bus and crashes into a house in Leesburg. He was 25.After driving much of the night, the band had stopped near a small airstrip. The tour bus driver, Andrew Aycock, talked the band’s keyboardist, Don Airey, into taking a test flight in a ’55 Beechcraft Bonanza, the joyride ended, and the plane landed safely. Then Aycock took Rhoads and Rachel Youngblood on another flight and attempts were made to “buzz” the tour bus. The left wing clipped the bus, which sent the plane spiralling into a nearby house and bursting into flames.A devoted student of classical guitar, Rhoads combined his classical music influences with his own heavy metal style. Despite his short career, Rhoads, who was a major influence on neo-classical metal, is cited as an influence by many guitarists and is included in several “Greatest Guitarist” lists.

Beginning: Randy Rhoads was born on December 6, 1956 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica California and died on March 19, 1982. From his birth until his death his life had centered around music. His impact on the guitar world may never be fully understood, but his influence can be seen through the many guitarist in the world of rock and roll, as well as the world of the classical guitar, that list a major impact in their musical lives. His love and understanding for music can rightfully be traced back to his mother, Delores Rhoads, and to his introduction to music at such a young  age. Mrs. Rhoads has owned and operated the Musonia School of music in Burbank, CA since 1949. After graduating from UCLA with a bachelors degree in music she taught in the Los  Angeles School system before leaving to play professionally and to start her Musonia. Randy’s father was a music teacher himself, but he left when Randy was 17 months old, leaving Mrs. Rhoads to raise her three children, Randy, Kellie and Kathy, and to head the music programs Musonia school of Music, Burbank, CA.

Quiet Riot: In his early years Rhoads was in a short-lived band called “The Whore”. By the time Rhoads was 14, he was in a band called Violet Fox (after his mother’s middle name, Violet). Rhoads taught his best friend Kelly Garni how to play bass, and together they formed Quiet Riot when Rhoads was about 17 (according to Rhoads’ mother). Kevin DuBrow auditioned for vocalist in Rhoads’ kitchen after he convinced Rhoads and Garni to give him a chance. The drummer, Drew Forsyth, was already in the picture and had periodically played with Rhoads and Garni in the past.  Quiet Riot initially played in small bars in Hollywood and local parties in Burbank, eventually playing at the two main L.A. music clubs of the day – the Whisky a Go Go, and The Starwood. While the band had a strong following in the L.A. club scene, they were unable to secure a major recording contract in the United States. Eventually, however, the band was able to land a record deal with Japanese label CBS/Sony Records and Quiet Riot and Quiet Riot II were released in Japan.

Ozzy Osbourne: In 1979, ex-Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne was forming a new band. Future Slaughter bassist Dana Strum recommended Rhoads to Osbourne. Rhoads got the call for the audition just before his final show with Quiet Riot. He walked in with his Les Paul guitar and a practice amp and started warming up; Osbourne 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.’” Osbourne described Rhoads’ playing as “God entering my life.” Rhoads subsequently recommended his friend Greg Leon, who also taught guitar at Musonia for Rhoads’ mother, to replace him in Quiet Riot, and then moved to the UK.
They arrived in England in March 1980 to begin working on their first album. The band headed into the studio to record the band’s debut album, Blizzard of Ozz. Rhoads’ guitar playing had evolved rapidly from his work with Quiet Riot, which has been criticized as being “dull”. Propelled by Rhoads’ neo-classical guitar work, the album proved an instant hit with rock fans, particularly in the USA. They released two singles from the album: “Mr. Crowley” and the hit “Crazy Train”.

The band toured extensively and then quickly wrote and recorded a follow-up album. Diary of a Madman was released shortly thereafter and Osbourne launched another tour with this same lineup. Around this time Rhoads remarked to Osbourne, Tommy Aldridge and friend Kelly Garni that he was considering leaving rock for a few years to earn a degree in classical guitar. In the documentary Don’t Blame Me, Osbourne confirmed Randy’s desire to earn the degree and stated that had he lived, he didn’t believe Randy would have stayed in his band. Friend and ex-Quiet Riot bassist Kelly Garni has stated in interviews that if Randy had continued to play rock, he might have gone the route of more keyboard-driven rock, which had become very 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 or Randy Rhoads Pro (though it was recommended to be called the Jackson concorde). Randy received two prototypes – one in black and one in white – but died before the guitar went into production. Rhoads also received the Best New Talent award from Guitar Player.

Favourite Gear: Rhoads used a relatively simple setup, with a small number of guitars, effects and favored amplifiers. He preferred GHS .011 gauge strings.

  • Gibson Les Paul Custom
  • Karl Sandoval Polka Dot Flying V
  • Original Jackson Randy Rhoads
  • Marshall White full stack
  • Marshall Black Full stack
  • Custom Pedalboard

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 Randy’s own Super Lead amp.Jackson Guitars released an exact replica of Randy’s original white “shortwing” V. Randy’s original guitar was handled, photographed, and measured extensively by Jackson’s luthiers to produce the most precise replica possible. 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. Rhoads is considered by Rolling Stone Magazine to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

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