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Randy Rhoads: 30th Anniversary of His Tragic Passing

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30 years ago today (March 19, 1982), Ozzy Osbourne‘s guitarist Randy Rhoads was killed in a tragic plane crash in Leesburg, Fla.

After co-founding Quiet Riot at the age of 16, Rhoads went on to become one of the most influential and respected hard rock/heavy metal guitarists in history, despite his relatively short career. After breaking through the late-’70s L.A. rock scene and playing such famed clubs as the Whiskey a Go Go, Rhoads played guitar on Quiet Riot’s first two albums (‘Quiet Riot’ and ‘Quiet Riot II’), which initially only saw their release in Japan.

In 1979, Rhoads auditioned in front of a drunken Ozzy Osbourne, who was looking to piece together a new band after his departure from Black Sabbath. Randy played on Ozzy’s famed 1980 release, ‘Blizzard of Ozz,’ and his trademark guitar playing can be heard on such hard rock classics as ‘Crazy Train’ and ‘Mr. Crowley.’

After the 1981 release of Osbourne’s ‘Diary of a Madman,’ Randy contemplated the idea of going on a hiatus from rock music to attend UCLA and study classical guitar. He continued to tour with Ozzy, however, supporting ‘Diary of a Madman’ into early 1982.

Tragedy struck on March 19, 1982. Rhoads, who had played what would become his last show just the day before in Knoxville, Tenn., was heading to a show in Orlando when the band’s tour bus stopped in Leesburg, Fla. Parked next to a small airstrip, the bus driver, Andrew Aycock, took some of the band members for joyrides on a plane he owned there. On the second flight of the day, Aycock took Rhoads and the band’s hairdresser/seamstress, Rachel Youngblood, with him.

Aycock decided to “buzz” the bus full of sleeping band members. On the third pass, the plane clipped the bus, and all three who were flying were killed instantly. He was laid to rest at Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino, Calif.

Chris Epting

Since his death, Rhoads has been the subject of tribute albums, has appeared on countless “best of” lists, and has even had a special edition amp and guitar released in his memory.

On the 30th anniversary of his tragic passing, Noisecreep reached out to Rhoads’ former Ozzy Osbourne bandmate, the great bassist Rudy Sarzo, who shared, “Though I mourn Randy Rhoads’ passing 30 years ago today, more importantly I celebrate his life. His unmeasurable talent and friendship lives on forever in my heart.”

Chris Epting

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