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    Musicians Against Air Travel: Randy Rhoads

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    Randy Rhoads

    Randy Rhoads

    So the other day I was listening to a classic: Blizzard of Ozz by Ozzy Osbourne, and I was reminded that the virtuoso guitar player Randy Rhoads died tragically in a plane crash back in 1982.

    Now, I know Randy Rhoads has fallen into obscurity by 2008, but this young musician was truly poised to make a huge impact on 1980's heavy metal...if he hadn't died in a totally stupid plane crash.

    Apparently scared of flying, Randy Rhoads somehow ended up on a small plane with a few other people, and a pilot who was either high on cocaine or had used it in the recent past. The pilot apparently flew the plane close to a tour bus where the rest of Ozzy's band were sleeping. After doing this a few times, and going back for another run, the plane hit the bus causing it to crash, killing everyone on board.

    Randy Rhoads was only 25 when he died, and yet in his short life, he was able to secure his place in rock history. Born in 1956, Randy started playing guitar at age 7. He learned guitar by playing folk music, but his style of lead guitar playing also shows a heavy influence of classical guitar. Most notable is the song "Dee" (Also on Blizzard of Ozz), which Randy named after his mother. At age 14, Randy Rhoads formed the band that would eventually become Quiet Riot. Playing around the LA area, Quiet Riot never achieved much success, and was never signed to a record label in the US. However, CBS/Sony did sign them, and released two albums in Japan in the late 1970's.

    In 1979, Randy Rhoads' name was passed on to Ozzy Osbourne who was putting together a new band after being fired from Black Sabbath. Ozzy reportedly hired Randy Rhoads while he was still warming up for his audition with Ozzy. What followed were two of the greatest heavy metal albums ever recorded: Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. Shortly before his death, Randy Rhoads had expressed interest in retiring from rock music temporarily to pursue a degree in classical guitar. Sadly, he never was able to pursue that musical path.

    Randy Rhoads' legacy lives on, especially amongst heavy metal guitarists. Randy's guitar playing is shreddy, skilled, and technical. The Crazy Train riff is classic. He is #4 on Guitar World's list of greatest heavy metal guitarists. It is so sad that a musician with such talent and technique had such a short life. If he had lived, it is no doubt that Randy Rhoads could have influenced so many more people on a much deeper level. However, what Randy Rhoads left behind is something to celebrate. Pick up a copy of Ozzy's Blizzard of Ozz or Diary of a Madman to hear the amazing musical talent of this amazing guitar player. Ozzy's album "Tribute" also features several live performances, and is essential listening for any lover of great guitar playing.

    Randy Rhoads: 1956-1982. RIP. We miss you.

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