The Hidden Gem of Rock

Why Randy Rhoads Is An Amazing and Underrated.


Lily Johnson, Writer

The famous companion of Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, was an unforgettable guitarist, born in Santa Monica, California. Randy had music flowing through his veins, like a natural musician. His talents and kind nature stuck with everyone he met, as he made himself well-known. Think of  ‘Crazy Train’ by Ozzy Osbourne. Hear the guitar and incredible riffs? ‘Mr. Crowley’ and ‘Goodbye to Romance’? Yes, that’s Randy. Amazing, I know. 

He would take lessons as a child, but only for a short time. His teachers would say he was not “teachable” anymore, because he mastered guitar so quickly. He was a natural musician. One tutor told his mother that Randy could not be taught by him any longer, as Randy’s skill exceeded his own!

Randy auditioned for Ozzy Osbourne, hoping to join him. Ozzy happened to be exhausted at this audition but was left in shock by Randy’s talent. After hearing Randy play for him, he was immediately given the job. Randy technically didn’t even audition yet. He was only warming up.

Many claim Randy had his own style, and it’s incredibly difficult to imitate or copy. At the time, his playing techniques were advanced, and unique compared to others. With this, his performances and songs became much more important to the rock industry. Some say working with Rhoads was inspirational, and somewhat life-changing . According to Ozzy, Randy didn’t want to be on the road, performing forever. Wherever they went on tours, Randy would take classes for an art or teaching degree, so he could give more lessons and classes to beginners and students. 

Randy’s last show was on March 18, 1982, located at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. After a long night of driving, they decided to stop at the Flying Baron Estates in Florida, for the night. The next morning, his growing career had ended unexpectedly, shocking the world of Rock and Roll. The tour bus driver, Andrew Aycock, who happened to also be a private pilot, took a single-engine Beechcraft F35 plane, without authorization. The pilot “buzzed” the bus in an attempt to wake Tommy Aldridge, the drummer, as a “joke”. He then landed and convinced the tour’s makeup artist Rachel Youngblood, and unfortunately, Randy Rhoads, to board the aircraft. Randy was not quite fond of flying, but he wanted to take aerial photos of the countryside for his mother.

During this flight, Aycock decided to buzz the bus once again. He succeeded two times, but the third ended in tragedy. The wings clipped to the bus, breaking away from the aircraft, and sending it flying out of control. The plane ended up crashing into a nearby mansion on the property, before bursting into flames. All three passengers were killed instantly. The band members on the bus were awoken by the crash. 

It was found that Aycock had been using illegal substances before flying the plane, while Rhoads was clean.

It wasn’t only three lives that ended, hundreds, and even thousands lost their lives. The loss of Randy was devastating, all because of irresponsible decisions and substance consumption by a pilot. The idiotic choice of convincing a woman with a bad heart and a man with a fear of flying to board his plane. 

Randy’s talents blossomed into an amazing career before his death, and I’m sure he wouldn’t have wanted to live his beautiful life any other way. Music was his passion. If only he could have stayed with us a bit longer.

Recently, Ozzy was presented with a lost tape, which recorded Randy practicing a never before seen solo, after recording hours. It is believed Randy may have been blowing off steam, playing some riffs, or just playing his wonderful heart out. This tape, which is now named ‘RR’ on the ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ album. I highly recommend listening more to Randy’s music. Also, Ozzy released a tribute album, which features an outtake of a studio recording, where Rhoads practiced his solo, ‘Dee’. You can also hear his voice speak, the drag of an occasional cigarette, and the leather he wore that day. It’s quite difficult to find videos and tapes like these now, so this outtake tape is quite unique. 

Now, you’re probably thinking that Randy wasn’t that good. Maybe you’re thinking- “Well, he wasn’t Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton. I’ve never heard of him!” Yes, Clapton and Hendrix are very talented as well, but not very many people know about Rhoads now, because there’s not very many recordings of him on video, and his career ended quickly. But, he is still as talented as the other legends of music. 

Randy was ranked 36th on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists, and 4th on Guitar World Magazine’s 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists. In 2017, Rhoads was inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History. 

If you like metal, hard rock, or Ozzy Osbourne, I truly believe Randy Rhoads is perfect for you. I promise you’ll be amazed. Especially by ‘RR’.  You’ll love it!