- Special Features
- Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
March 19, 2012 marked the 30th anniversary of the death of famed guitarist Randy Rhoads.
Randy Rhoads grew to fame and notoriety in the early 80’s, playing lead guitar for former Black Sabbath front-man Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy, fresh on his newly embarked solo career, had released his second album Diary of a Madman in February of 1981 and was on tour in promotion of the album, when Rhoads met his untimely death.
After playing a show in Tennessee at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum, Rhoads and hairdresser Rachel Youngblood took a late-night joyride on a small-engine aircraft piloted by the band’s tour bus driver Andrew Aycock. In an attempt to startle sleeping members of the band, the plane flew extremely low and close to the tour bus. A third attempt of this prank proved fatal as the wing of the plane clipped the back of the bus, sending the small craft careening into the trees.
The plane crashed into a garage on a property near the landing strip, bursting into flames. Pilot Aycock, Youngblood, and Rhoads, 25, were killed instantly and burned beyond recognition. The death of the young guitarist was a blow to the rock and roll community and a devastating loss for the Prince of Darkness.
In the years following Rhoads’ death, he has been hailed as one of the greatest guitarists in rock and roll. In November 2011,Rolling Stone Magazine placed Rhoads at number 36, as part of the magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In 2010 Gibson Guitars re-issued the 1974 Custom Les Paul guitar that Rhoads made famous during his three-year gig with Osbourne.
Although gone, Randy William Rhoads will never be forgotten. His legend lives on in the guitar-heavy, innovative sounds that make albums such as Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman classic and timeless records that are still played today, 30 years after their release.
Long live Randy Rhoads (1956-1982).
Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads: