Widely acknowledged as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time, Randy Rhoads was a dramatic game changer for heavy metal and for generations of guitar players. As a student of classical guitar, Rhoads embodied musical excellence, with remarkable musicianship and a deep commitment to his instrument virtually unparalleled in rock. Incorporating classical elements into his unique signature style, he pioneered a high-speed, technical style of guitar soloing and popularized techniques like two-handed tapping, whammy bar dive bombs, and complex scale patterns that came to define metal in the 1980s and beyond.
After recording two albums with Quiet Riot (the band he cofounded in 1973), Rhoads joined ex-Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne's new solo band in 1979. In many ways due to Rhoads' stunning guitar work, Osbourne's first solo release, Blizzard of Ozz (1980), is recognized as one of heavy metal’s greatest albums, and its biggest single, “Crazy Train,” features one of the most recognizable guitar riffs ever played. Both Blizzard of Ozz and its superb followup, Diary of a Madman (1981) – showcasing Rhoads’ astounding talents – are loaded with songs that became instant metal classics.
Just as he was beginning to receive major accolades as a distinguished musician (including 1982’s “Best New Guitarist” honor from Guitar Player magazine), 25-year-old Rhoads was tragically killed in a plane crash on March 19, 1982. When the Osbourne/Rhoads live album, Tribute (1987), was later released, it confirmed the astonishing skill and limitless potential of the young guitarist, ensuring that his status in the music world would reach mythic proportions and that rock music and guitar playing were changed forever.
Quiet Riot: Quiet Riot (1977) • Quiet Riot: Quiet Riot II (1978) • Ozzy Osbourne: “I Don't Know,” “Crazy Train,” “Suicide Solution,” “Mr. Crowley,” “Dee,” Blizzard of Ozz (1980) • Ozzy Osbourne: “Over the Mountain,” “Flying High Again,” “Little Dolls,” “Diary of a Madman,” Diary of a Madman (1981) • Ozzy Osbourne: Tribute (1987) • Quiet Riot: “Laughing Gas,” The Randy Rhoads Years (1993)
Influences: Glen Buxton, Mick Ronson, Eddie Van Halen
Legacies: Yngwie Malmsteen, Lita Ford, Tom Morello
Cleveland, Ohio 44114