Randall William “Randy” Rhoads

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Randy RhoadsHall of Fame Induction: Randall William “Randy” Rhoads
(December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982)
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Words cannot describe what Randy Rhoads’ playing meant to me. He made me want to learn how to play the guitar. He made me want to strive to be the best guitar player I could be. He made me want to be a perfectionist on the guitar. He made me think outside of the box when it came to riffs, leads and arrangements. Of course, his playing, for the brief time the we got to hear it, was legendary. We only got a small glimpse into what he could have done. We lost him far too young.

Rhoads combined his classical music influences with his own heavy metal style and became a major influence on neo-classical metal and just about any guitar player after him. He formed Quiet Riot at the age of 16, and if you listened to their early stuff with him, you would see that he was already a highly established player.

In 1979, he joined Ozzy Osbourne’s band, then known as The Blizzard of Ozz. While only recording two albums with Ozzy, these albums went on to be known as some of Ozzy’s best work. The guitar playing was exceptional led by songs like Mr. Crowley, which is well known for having some of the greatest lead guitar work ever. Tracks like I Don’t Know and Crazy Train also came to be well known because of the exceptional lead work done on them. There was also the amazing acoustic guitar instrumental Dee on the Blizzard of Oz that is known as being one of the greatest instrumentals to ever be recorded.

After a highly successful tour, the band recorded Diary of a Madman and more guitar wizardry was displayed by Rhoads including the amazing solo on Over the Mountain and the great arrangement for the title track, Diary of a Madman.

Rhoads was so dedicated to improving that he would seek out classical guitar teachers while on tour to consume all that he could. It was well known that he was considering leaving rock for a few years to earn a degree in classical guitar at UCLA. Osbourne himself declared that Rhoads would probably have left the band had it not been for his death.

The text below is taken from Wikipedia because they explained the accident to led to his death exceptionally well.

Randy RhoadsRandy Rhoads played his last show on Thursday, March 18, 1982 at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. The next day, the band was headed to a festival in Orlando, Florida. After driving much of the night, they stopped on the property belonging to Jerry Calhoun, owner of “Florida Coach”, in Leesburg, Florida. On it, there was a small airstrip lined with small helicopters and planes, and two houses. One of the houses belonged to the tour bus driver Andrew Aycock, and the other was owned by Calhoun. Aycock, a licensed pilot, talked the band’s keyboardist Don Airey, into taking a test flight with him in a ’55 Beechcraft Bonanza. By some accounts the manager Jake Duncan, was also on this first flight. The joyride ended and the plane landed safely. Then Aycock took Rhoads and hairdresser/seamstress Rachel Youngblood on another flight. Rhoads was persuaded to go on the second flight, despite his fear of flying.

Though he resented flying, Rhoads apparently agreed to go for two reasons: the seamstress had a heart condition so Aycock agreed to do nothing risky, and Rhoads wanted to take an aerial photo as one of his hobbies was photography. During the second flight, attempts were made to “buzz” the tour bus where the other band members were sleeping. They succeeded twice, but the third attempt was botched. The left wing clipped the back side of the tour bus, tore the fiberglass roof then sent the plane spiraling. The plane severed the top of a pine tree and crashed into the garage of a nearby mansion, bursting into flames. Rhoads was killed instantly, as were Aycock (36) and Youngblood (58). All three bodies were burned beyond recognition, and were identified by dental records and Rhoads’ jewelry.

It was later revealed in an autopsy that Aycock’s system showed traces of cocaine at the time. Rhoads’ toxicology test revealed only nicotine. The NTSB investigation determined that Aycock’s medical certificate had expired and that his biennial flight review, required for all pilots, was overdue. In Ozzy Osbourne’s autobiography, I Am Ozzy, he writes that the night of Rhoads’ death, he told his wife, Sharon: “I don’t think I want to be a rock ‘n’ roller anymore”. Rhoads’ funeral was held at the First Lutheran Church in Burbank, California. He is interred at Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino, California, where his grandparents are also buried.