There are so many tales of artists lost too young, but way too many of them are more cautionary tales of self-destruction and failing to heed the constant pleas and attempts of others to save them – such as almost the entire ’27 club’. Those are tragic in their own right, but there are also losses of artists through disease or accidents.
I always think of the young loss of Scott LaFaro in 1961, or the infamous ‘Day the Music Died’ plane crash … but today marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Ozzy Osborne guitarist Randy Rhoads in a plane crash at the age of 25.
While most think of rock and heavy metal musicians as having prodigious chops but limited vocabulary, Rhoads drew from a considerable knowledge of music theory that allowed him to produce non-traditional sounding solos, and led to him being extremely influential in spite of a short recording career.
Before joining Ozzy he played in the early edition of Quiet Riot (he was a co-founder), but it is his work on the Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madman that make him a familiar name to guitarists worldwide to this day.
Here are a few videos of him in action:
Ozzy hears lost solo from the master tapes for the 20th Anniversary of Blizzard of Oz:
Sound Check from about a month before his death: