Remembering Randy Rhoads: Celebrate The Legacy Of Heavy Metal’s Great Guitar Hero!

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    [Photo: Getty Images]
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32 years ago today heavy metal music lost one of it’s greatest guitar heroes, original Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot guitarist Randy Rhoads. His combination of guitar pyrotechnics, classical flourishes, flashy rhythm guitar fills and peerless technique has influenced players since he was first widely heard on Osbourne’s 1980 debut solo album Blizzard of Ozz and continues up to this very day. We’ve already discussed the bizarre circumstances of his tragic death in our article Live Fast, Die Weird: The Most Bizarre Deaths In Music History but more important than how he died is how he lived and how much he accomplished in his short 25 years on this Earth.

Emerging from the same talent rich Southern California hard rock scene as Van Halen and Motley Crue, Randy Rhoads paid his dues as a member of the pre-fame Quiet Riot, playing on their first two Japan-only releases, before joining up with former Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne in 1979. His work on the first two Ozzy albums, 1980’s Blizzard Of Ozz and 1981’s Diary Of A Madman, set the guitar playing world abuzz though just as important as his shredding abilities was his songwriting contributions to such metal classics as “Crazy Train,” “Mr. Crowley” and “Flying High Again.” Check out our exclusive interview with Night Ranger and Trans-Siberian Orchestra guitarist Joel Hoekstra about his lasting influences and hear what band-mate Rudy Sarzo and the That Metal Show boys have to say about one of the true legends of heavy metal guitar playing.

Hear Joel Hoekstra discuss Randy Rhoads tremendous impact on his guitar playing.

The Blizzard of Ozz touring band, L – R: Rudy Sarzo, Randy Rhoads, Tommy Aldridge and Ozzy Osbourne.

Rudy Sarzo (Quit Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake)

When did you first hear Randy Rhoads play guitar?

I first heard Randy play when I saw Quiet Riot performing in 1976 at the Hollywood hot spot The Starwood. After the show I grabbed singer Kevin DuBrow and complemented the band, especially their guitarist, and told them he was destined to be a star. Guess I underestimated Randy’s potential since he went on to become a legend.

What’s your favorite Randy Rhoads song or guitar solo?

I have so many but the first song that comes to mind is “Mr. Crowley” since it’s both melodic and heavy, which is a trademark of Randy’s composing genius.

What do you think was his impact was on guitar playing?

He defined a new generation of shredders, not only as a soloist but just as important was his rapid fire rhythm guitar playing. Just listen to any of his Ozzy records, no one had played rhythm guitar like that before him but most of today’s metal guitarist do ever since.

Eddie Trunk (Famed heavy metal DJ and author and That Metal Show host)

When did you first hear Randy Rhoads play guitar?

With Quiet Riot. Although I didn’t see them live with him I did have the Japanese imports of their first two albums.

What’s your favorite Randy Rhoads guitar solo?

There’s so many but probably “Mr. Crowley.” I love the melody in the first part and then how he just goes off.

What do you think was his impact was on guitar playing?

He had the perfect balance of melody and fireworks. I loved his melodic, classical influences, but then he would come right back with amazing shredding and squeals and pings. I also loved his rhythm guitar playing and all the power slide stuff he did. You hear a lot of that in other players I also love like Zakk Wylde and John Sykes.


Don Jamieson (Comedian, That Metal Show host. New comedy release Hell Bent For Laughter out now on Metal Blade Records)

When did you first hear Randy Rhoads play guitar?

The first time I heard Randy play was on the Blizzard Of Ozz album. His riffing and shredding sounded so fresh and exciting and still does to this day.

What’s your favorite Randy Rhoads guitar solo?

I just love his overall playing on the song “Diary Of A Madman”- the classical playing, the riffing and the soloing are all top-notch. It makes you think about just how far he could have gone from there.

What do you think was his impact was on guitar playing?

He’s influenced everyone from John Sykes to Zakk Wylde and there are still young players discovering his music so his contribution is definitely immense.