Happy Birthday, Randy Rhoads

Born on this day, December 6, 1956, legendary guitarist Randy Rhoads.

What is there to say about the profoundly inspirational guitarist, killed in a plane crash March 19, 1982, that hasn't already been said? Born in Santa Monica, California, Randy was the youngest son of music teachers William and Delores Rhoads. Randy began receiving training in folk and classical music by the age of 7. 


Quiet Riot

By 16 Randy is kicking it around Los Angeles in various bands. Randy meets vocalist Kevin DuBrow and drummer Drew Forsyth and Quiet Riot is formed. By 1976 Quiet Riot is signed to CBS/Sony Records. Quiet Riot garners some success overseas but finds it difficult to break it big in the United States, outside of their loyal following in and around Los Angeles. 

What a kickass time to be in Los Angeles, roaming up and down the Sunset Strip between The Whiskey, The Rainbow, The Starwood and Gazzarri's. Randy had a growing following on the LA club scene, who were known to wear polka dot vests and bow ties to Quiet Riot shows around this time.



Here's a Quiet Riot show from June 22, 1979. Don't forget Rudy Sarzo's in the band, too. Check him out. Killer stage presence. Hard to find a cooler bass player with a more extensive Heavy Metal resume. A story for another time. 


Ozzy Osbourne is on the outs with Black Sabbath in 1979. Randy is begged by friends to audition for Ozzy's new band. Randy finally relents. He drags his Gibson Les Paul and a practice amp over to the audition.

The widely documented story goes something like this;
Ozzy is hammered drunk in the engineering booth. Tired and wasted, Ozzy hears what amounts to Randy's warmup and is immediately blown away. Randy is hired on the spot. According to bass player Rudy Sarzo, in his biography Off The Rails, Randy didn't even met Ozzy until the next day.

Randy Rhoads records two studio albums with Ozzy, the seminal masterpiece "Blizzard of Ozz," (1980) and fan-favorite "Diary of a Madman," (1981). Randy was killed in a plane crash on March 19, 1982. He was 25. His life was short but his legacy is lasting and indisputably monstrous. Randy Rhoads, more than 30 years after his death, continues to be one of the most influential guitarists of all time. 


In 1987 Ozzy finally releases a live album from the "Diary of a Madman" Tour featuring Randy on guitar. A bittersweet moment for the entire Heavy Metal community. Here's Randy's instrumental "Dee,"named after his mother Delores, including studio out-takes featured on the "Tribute" album. Hearing Randy's voice is haunting and beautiful.


One more, a personal favorite from the "Tribute" album is "Believer." 

And finally, Randy playing with Ozzy. It's important to remember and appreciate Ozzy's genuine affection for Randy. You can see it when they're on stage together.


 Randy Rhoads, born this day, 1956. Happy Birthday, Randy.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published