|Born on: 06.12.1956
Died on: 19.03.1982
Randall William "Randy" Rhoads (December 6, 1956 - March 19, 1982) was an American guitarist, rated by Rolling Stone magazine as number 85 in The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. His unique neo-classical metal style of playing set him apart from other guitarists of the early 1980s. He was a devoted student of classical guitar and he used this talent in rock guitar studies. While on tour with Ozzy, he would often seek out classical guitar tutors for lessons.
Rhoads was born on December 6th, 1956 at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. He was the youngest of three children, his older brother Doug is a drummer who goes by the name of Kelle Rhoads. His sister's name is Kathy.
When Randy was 17 months old, his father William Arthur Rhoads left his mother Delores Rhoads and the three children. Mrs. Rhoads has owned and operated the Musonia School of Music in North Hollywood, California since 1949. Rhoads started playing guitar at age 6 on his grandfather's old Gibson "Army-Navy" classical acoustic guitar. According to Rhoads's mother, he learned to play folk guitar, which was a popular way to learn guitar at the time, although he did not take lessons for very long. Rhoads was always evolving toward a hard rock/metal lead guitar style, but he was heavily influenced by classical music as well. This can be heard on tracks like "Dee" (an instrumental he named for his mother Delores), "Mr. Crowley", "Diary Of A Madman", "Crazy Train" and "Revelation (Mother Earth)".
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 a Japanese label and Quiet Riot's self-titled debut album was released in Japan. In 1978, Garni left the band to pursue a career as a paramedic, and was replaced by future Ozzy Osbourne bassist Rudy Sarzo. The band then released Quiet Riot II. Although Sarzo appeared on the cover photo for Quiet Riot II, he did not play on either of the Japanese releases.
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 the last Quiet Riot gig. He walked in with a Les Paul guitar and a Fender 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, as Rhoads packed his bags and headed off to the UK.
They arrived in England in March 1980 to begin working on their first album. Rhoads and Osbourne met up with bassist Bob Daisley in an English pub. Osbourne heard good things about Bob Daisley's playing in Rainbow, so he asked him to join his band; Daisley accepted. Osbourne and company auditioned many drummers but were being pressured by the record company, Jet Records, to start recording. Finally, the last drummer on their list, former Uriah Heep drummer Lee Kerslake, got the gig. They also hired keyboardist Don Airey who had played with Osbourne a few years prior on the Black Sabbath album Never Say Die!. The band headed into the studio to record the band's debut album, Blizzard Of Ozz. Propelled by Rhoads' inspiring neo-classical guitar work and highlighting Daisley's contemporary lyrics, the album proved an instant hit with rock fans, particularly in the USA.
They released two singles from the album: "Mr. Crowley" (inspired lyrically by occultist Aleister Crowley) and the hit "Crazy Train". The band toured extensively and then quickly wrote and recorded the follow-up Diary Of A Madman. Two singles were released from Diary Of A Madman; "Over The Mountain" and "Flying High Again". Two days after recording was done, Osbourne fired Kerslake and Daisley, and he hired ex-Black Oak Arkansas drummer Tommy Aldridge and ex-Quiet Riot bassist Rudy Sarzo. 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 so popular through the 1980's.
Tomb of Randy RhoadsOn March 19, 1982, the band was headed to a festival in Orlando, Florida, when they stopped at the bus driver's house in Leesburg, Florida after driving much of the night. The driver, Andrew Aycock, whose pilot license had expired, took Rhoads and hairdresser Rachel Youngblood on a plane he had taken without permission and took off early that morning. Apparently, during the flight, an attempt was made to "buzz" the tour bus where the other band members were sleeping. They succeeded three times but the fourth time it went horribly wrong. The right wing clipped the right side of the tour bus by accident and crashed into a nearby mansion completely destroying the front. Nobody in the mansion was hurt. Rhoads, age 25, was killed instantly, as were Aycock, 36, and Youngblood, 58. It was found later that Aycock had an expired flying license and had some amount of cocaine in his system; Rhoads' toxicology test revealed no illicit drugs.
Randy's funeral was held at the First Lutheran Church in Burbank, CA, where he attended as a child. He was interred at Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino, California (where his grandparents are also buried). At the time, Randy's mother was living in Burbank. The Rhoads family and many fans gather there on the anniversary of his death as well as his birthday to pay tribute and celebrate his life.
Despite his relatively limited recorded work, Rhoads has influenced many notable guitar players including: Zakk Wylde, Dimebag Darrell, Alexi Laiho, Jake E. Lee, Brad Gillis,Bret Santti, James Murphy, Yngwie Malmsteen, Slash, Chris Impellitteri, John Petrucci, Tony MacAlpine, Wolf Hoffman, Akira Takasaki, Matthias Jabs, Troy Stetina, Lee Tatler, Paul Gilbert, Matt Tuck, Marty Friedman, Hide, Daron Malakian, Janick Gers, Kirk Hammett, and Buckethead.
In 1987, five years after Rhoads' death, Osbourne released Tribute, the only official album featuring Osbourne and Rhoads playing together in concert. Most of the album is a live performance from Toronto, Canada, Recorded on July 27th, 1981. A show just one day later in Montreal, Canada, recorded on July 28th, 1981, had been broadcast on WMMS-FM, and the King Biscuit Flower Hour, from which it became an extremely popular and fast selling bootleg. The songs "Goodbye to romance" and "No bone movies" from the Tribute album were recorded on the UK Blizzard of ozz tour, on the same date as the Mr. Crowley EP and they feature both Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake on Bass and Drums.
Randy was inducted into the Guitar Center Rock Walk (on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, CA), on March 18th 2004. Guests included Delores Rhoads,Kelle Rhoads, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Zakk Wylde and Yngwie Malmsteen.
Career with Quiet Riot
1975: Rhoads forms Quiet Riot.
1977: The band signs a contract to Sony Records.
1978: The band released its first album. Released only in Japan. Kelly Garni is replaced by Rudy Sarzo. Rudy does not appear on Quiet Riot 2, as it has already been recorded.
]: The band released the second album. Released only in Japan.Randy quits Quiet Riot and begins working with Ozzy Osbourne.
1980: Ozzy, Randy and co. Record "Blizzard Of Ozz" in April. They record "Diary Of A Madman" in October, or November of this same year. "Blizzard Of OZZ" is released late in the year.
1981: "Diary Of A Madman" is released in October, which features Bob Daisley on Bass and Lee Kerslake on Drums, even though the sleeve would indicate otherwise. The Diary tour starts on December 30th,in San Francisco, CA., at the Cowpalace. On this same night Randy is awarded the Guitar Player Of The Year Award.
1982: On March 19th, Rhoads dies in a plane crash in Leesburg, Florida. He was only two days into the second leg of the tour, after just having 10 days off, where at home in Burbank, he had his wisdom teeth removed. Randy was 25 years old.
1983: The band releases Metal Health with a new guitarist, Carlos Cavazo. The song "Thunderbird" is dedicated to Rhoads' memory, yet was written for him after he left Quiet Riot to Join Ozzy.
Discography with Quiet Riot
Quiet Riot (1977)
Quiet Riot II (1978)
The Randy Rhoads Years (Greatest Hits of 1977-1981) (1993)
Career with Ozzy Osbourne
1980: Randy Rhoads' first gig with Ozzy Osbourne, and the recording of Blizzard of Ozzand "Diary Of A Madman".
1981: Blizzard Of Ozz(In America) and Diary of a Madman were both released.
1987: Ozzy Osbourne releases Tribute to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Rhoads's death.
The live recordings on Tribute were originally intended to be released as Ozzy's first live album, Speak of the Devil (Talk of the Devil in the UK), but when Rhoads died, Osbourne shelved the tapes. Instead, Ozzy made a live recording of songs from the Ozzy-era Black Sabbath catalogue, playing with his usual live ensemble (Rudy Sarzo on bass guitar and Tommy Aldridge on drums) and guitarist Brad Gillis of Night Ranger substituting for Rhoads. The album was intended as a riposte to the then current lineup of Black Sabbath releasing their own live album Live Evil. The intended name of the live album, however, did not change, and consequently Speak of the Devil is sometimes erroneously ascribed to Rhoads's discography.
Discography with Ozzy Osbourne
"Crazy Train" (1980)
"Mr. Crowley" (1980)
"Over The Mountain" (1981)
"Flying High Again" (1981)
Blizzard of Ozz (1981)
Live Ep (1981) - out of print
Diary of a Madman (1981)
Tribute (live, 1981) (1987)
Ten Commandments (greatest hits) (1990) - out of print
The Ozzman Cometh (greatest hits) (1997)
The Essential Ozzy Osbourne (greatest hits) (2003)
Prince of Darkness (box set) (2005)