Today (December 6th) would've marked the 63rd Birthday of Randy Rhoads. The Southern California native was something of a guitar prodigy. He finished High School, early at the age of 16 so he could focus on his music studies at his mother Dolores' Music School in North Hollywood. It wasn't long before he began teaching others after he had surpassed the instructors there.
Soon he had formed his own rock band Quiet Riot and after playing any/everywhere and finally caught the attention of CBS/Sony in Japan. Without proper support, the two albums they recorded saw limited, over seas distribution and they were eventually back to square one.
That all changed for the guitarist in 1979 when he was invited to audition for Ozzy Osbourne who had recently parted ways with Black Sabbath and was starting a new group. Reluctantly, Randy finally gave in (at the behest of his Mother) and decided to go to the audition. Rhoads' account was something to the effect of "I just tuned up and did some riffs, and he said, 'You've got the gig'; I had the weirdest feeling, because I thought, 'You didn't even hear me yet'".
Ozzy would whisk his new talent away to England where work began right away on Blizzard Of Ozz with ex-Rainbow bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake. The record was a smash with singles like "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley". A lengthy tour would follow and then it was back in the studio to record the follow up Diary Of A Madman.The success of that second album would afford the band their first U.S. Tour. This would bring with it the tragic death of the then. 25 year-old guitar phenom. Rhoads played his last show on Thursday, March 18, 1982, in Knoxville, TN. Following the show, the band traveled all night by Tour bus to Leesburg, FL.
The bus driver was also a pilot and offered to take the musicians up for a spin at a local, private air field by all accounts in the middle of nowhere. Despite his fear of flying, Randy was coerced into going up where he figured at least he could take some photographs (one of his other hobbies). He was joined by the band's seamstress and makeup artist Rachel Youngblood. The pilot/bus driver was trying some erratic maneuvers and decided to "buzz" the tour bus with the other members sleeping. The small plane's wing clipped the bus and plummeted directly into a nearby home's garage, burst into flames killing all on board. It was the end of Randy's life, but his legacy would only increase year after year. His playing, songwriting and work ethic continues to inspire generations of musicians and the work he left behind stands up as some of the best of the genre. Sadly, there are only a few, live performances that have been released to the public. But here are some offerings from April 28 1981. Randy Rhoads took to the stage at 31 Studios in Ogden, New York (just outside Rochester) to film for broadcast on the After Hours TV Show. Further below is some footage from MTV where Rhoads receives the "Best New Talent" Award by Guitar Player Magazine.