Honoring Randy Rhoads: 30 Years Gone

By MDuffy

March 19, 2012

Thirty years ago today (March 19, 1982), Randy Rhoads was killed in a tragic plane crash in Leesburg, Fla., robbing the world of a breathtaking guitar virtuoso.

After co-founding Quiet Riot at the age of 16, Rhoads went on to become one of the most influential hard rock guitarists ever, even though his career was cut short at 25.

Rhoads played in Osbourne’s post-Black Sabbath band on the famous 1980 release Blizzard of Ozz and 1981’s Diary of a Madman.

After Madman dropped, Rhoads contemplated the idea of taking a hiatus from rock music to attend a university and study classical guitar.  But continuing to tour with Osbourne, Rhoads met his untimely end in 1982.

Rhoads was heading from Knoxville, Tenn., to a show in Orlando when the band’s bus stopped and parked next to a small airstrip.  The driver took some of the band members for rides in planes on site, and during one flight with Rhoads and hairdresser/seamstress Rachel Youngblood on board, the plane clipped the tour bus and crashed, killing all three who were flying.

Rhoads was laid to rest at Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino, Calif., and his legend continues to be honored in listings of top guitarists and signature instruments.

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello recently opened up about Rhoads’ influence on him to MusicRadar.

“See, I was never a big fan of the whole ‘party-hard-we’re-gonna-rock-harder’ world. I liked music. But I could see myself in Randy, how he was a real student of music,” Morello said.  “The fact that he practiced for hours on end really appealed to me. He was serious, and he wanted only to get better at his craft. When I was practicing eight hours a day, his was the poster I had on my wall.”

“Almost immediately after hearing him for the first time, he became my favorite guitar player. I remember buying Diary Of A Madman when it came out, and somebody at the record store was making fun of me because of the album cover. I had to explain to this person that, while I certainly liked Ozzy, I was really a big Randy Rhoads fan – that’s why I was buying the record.”

Fans will soon be able to cull more insights into Rhoads’ life, as a new Rhoads biography is set to be released this spring by Steven Rosen and Andrew Klein.

The book chronicles an oral history of Rhoads’ remarkable life through those who knew him best and boasts rare photographs and memorabilia.