RANDY RHOADS whose knack for melodic song writing and stunning neo-classical lead guitar style revolutionized metal in 1980s, died tragically thirty years ago today. Rhoads (December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982) died in a plane crash while on tour with OZZY OSBOURNE, but he has left an indelible mark on generations of musicians to follow.
Rhoads who had been an early member of QUIET RIOT shot to fame when he auditioned for the guitar spot in OZZY OSBOURNE’s band THE BILZZARD OF OZZ. The combination of the soft spoken, but immensely talented Rhoads and Ozzy who felt he had to prove himself to the world after his dismissal from BLACK SABBATH was potent and changed the face of music. Rhoads is always remembered as a terrific lead guitarist and was often compared to the best players of his day like EDDIE VAN HALEN. However, equally important as Randy’s impact as a soloist was his legacy as a songwriter, his use of classical modes and his widespread use of major scales in rock and metal that had predominantly been full of brooding minor keys and old-style pentatonic blues riffs up until that point. He also helped innovate an popularize several styles and looks of guitars with his polka-dot Jackson Flying V’s. Although he is best remembered for songs like OZZY hits “Crazy Train”, “Mr. Crowley” “Suicide Solution”, “Over The Mountain” and “Flying High Again” most of his output, however brief is excellent and worthy of repeat listens.
Popular guitar players who have been influenced by Rhoads such as the late DIMEBAG DARRELL, ZAKK WYLDE, Phil Demmel of MACHINE HEAD and a host of metal lead players from the 80s and 90s used to and still do sing his praises. Although his music is among some of the most popular in the genre, you can still hear examples of his reach in many modern bands like ARCH ENEMY, REVOCATION, ANIMALS AS LEADERS, MASTODON, OPETH, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, JOB FOR A COWBOY, THE AGONIST, CHILDREN OF BODOM, WARBRINGER, ICED EARTH, DECAPITATED, ALL SHALL PERISH and THE FACELESS among many, many others.
By Keith (Keefy) Chachkes