Rock Blog: Happy Birthday Randy Rhoads

December 6, 2016

Randy  Rhoads is widely regarded as one of the greatest, most influential guitar players of all time, although we never had the opportunity to see his full potential as a musician. Tragically, Randy was taken from the world of rock at a very young age, having died in a plane accident when he was only 25 years old. Today would have been his 60th birthday.


A founding member of Quiet Riot, Randy Rhoads broke into the music scene as a high schooler in California at the young age of 16. When many of us were just learning how to drive, he was diving head first into the world of heavy metal, opening for monster bands like Van Halen in LA nightclubs.

Although Quiet Riot’s future seemed bright, Rhoads was frustrated with how the band struggled to gain notoriety in the U.S., so he auditioned to play with Ozzy Osbourne in 1979. As the story goes, Ozzy interrupted Randy while he was warming up to offer him the gig! That’s all it took – just a few warm-up riffs – and he was hired.


After assembling the rest of Ozzy’s band, they hit the studio to record Blizzard of Ozz in 1980, where Randy completely surprised people. It was almost as if he was a completely different guitarist from his days in Quiet Riot. He was given more freedom as a musician, and it showed.

After touring through the UK, the band recorded and released their second and final album to feature Randy Rhoads, Diary of a Madman. Shortly after, Randy mentioned he had dreamed of going to college to earn a degree. He wanted to study classical guitar at UCLA. He never had the opportunity.


Randy Rhoads played his final show March 18, 1982 in Tennessee during the band’s first US tour. He was killed in a tragic plane accident. The pilot had attempted to rattle the tour bus with a few close fly-bys. On the third attempt, the plane connected with the tour bus and spiraled out of control. The pilot Andrew Aycock, make-up artist Rachel Youngblood, and Randy Rhoads were all killed when the plane crashed and burst into flames. Over the years I have read the recollections from Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy and other band members, and their words have brought tears to my eyes. I think of what could have been.


Today would have been the 60th birthday of a man who loved music and people. A man who died before I was born, but I have still always felt connected to him through his music. The long hair, his signature polka-dotted Flying-V, and his effortless talent. He may not have received the praises he deserved during his short lifetime, but in 2016 we still celebrate his talent, his life, and his legacy.


Happy Birthday, Randy Rhoads. Rock In Paradise.


Taryn Daly