Thirty years ago today the Heavy Metal music scene lost one of its most inspiring and acclaimed guitar players. Yep, if you are old enough to remember this event happening, it has been thirty years since Randy Rhoads was killed in a tragic and altogether stupid, unnecessary accident. He was twenty five years old at the time of his death.
While I realize that I am dating myself, I will admit to the first time hearing Randy play was when I was turned onto the “Blizzard Of Ozz” album that had just come out. My Metal and Rock friends used to regularly convene at the local record shops and my neighborhood had two of them. We had Record Factory and the Little Record Store and while the first one was the larger supplier of stuff, the smaller shop always seemed to have the Metal stuff there a little earlier than the others. When you listened to Randy do what he could do on the guitar you were instantly floored. It was so good, and so interesting and for its time so very, very unique. It was another case of the musicians doing something that was not often done at this time, and we had experienced something similar only a few years ago when the first Van Halen album had come out.
Back in these bygone years everyone was paying attention to the Ozzy debut release and its followup “Diary Of A Madman”, well if you were a Metal head that is, and these became a very important albums in the collections of so many fans based on how hard it hit us and just how solid and strong the playing was across the board. The depth of guitar work we heard Randy doing instantly inspired legions of guitar players and resultant of that the instructors of the time had their work cut out for them as many students showed up wanting to learn “what Randy was doing”. His creativity surely gave them a run for their money and made them earn the lesson fees that they were charging.
It’s very easy to decry the incident that took Randy’s life and let’s face it, it was an absolutely foolish and stupid prank that went horribly wrong and not only killed the the talented musician but also two other people in the process. Rock and roll mayhem does sometimes come at a terrible cost when fueled by alcohol and other substances. What a shame. It’s the kind of story that ends the musical chapter far too early where Randy was concerned and one has to wonder what kind of music that he would b delivering in this day and age had he still been alive and even performing for that matter. The adult Ken feels that he would not be playing anything even resembling Metal at this time as he very likely would have felt that he had done all that could be accomplished for the genre. Perhaps he would have gone Classical or even Progressive Rock or maybe just became an in demand studio session player or respected producer. Sadly we shall never know and the “What If” case scenario is something that only plays out in the comic books. What a shame.
Last year Epic Records re-released two incredible remasters of the first two albums by Ozzy Osbourne that nothing short of “must have in my collection” pieces. They feature bonus tracks and expanded artwork and the special edition of “Diary” even gives us an unreleased live concert that staggers the Metal senses. I’ve placed links for your perusal below.
Let’s never forget Randy’s musical and Metal memory, especially today. Thanks for the music that you left us with Mr. Rhoads, I hope you are watching what it has set in motion since you left.