It’s a magical Randy Rhoads birthday: this year, the legendary guitarist would’ve turned 66 years old on the 6th of December. Throw the goat!
To say we were robbed of Randy’s talent would be a gross understatement. Dead at 25 after a horribly tragic plane crash, he had barely begun to tap into his full powers as a guitarist. Yet, at the same time, he had already built the beginnings of a rock legacy that survives today. For crying out loud, the man wrote the riff from “Crazy Train.” He could’ve retired after that!
Let’s take it back a few years, though. Before he made his mark as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist when Ozzy went solo post-Black Sabbath, Randy Rhoads founded a band called Little Women. He was 16 years old. While still in high school and studying (and teaching!) classical guitar, he would gig out at night. After graduating early from Burbank High School, he devoted himself to the band full time. They changed their name to Quiet Riot. Maybe you’ve heard of them.
Randy’s work with Quiet Riot laid the groundwork for the band’s later success. By the time they had hits on the radio and MTV, Rhoads had already auditioned for Ozzy Osbourne’s new band and gotten the gig on the spot. Let’s stop and appreciate that for a moment. Ozzy had built up enough of a reputation with Black Sabbath that he could’ve hand-picked any guitar player he wanted. Randy was so good he made Ozzy forget that fact and got the job instantly. Or maybe it was the drugs.
A Randy Rhoads Birthday Six-Pack
Gone too soon, yes. But Randy left behind a pretty solid stack of rock to sift through. So instead of lamenting what could’ve been, let’s celebrate what was. I’ve shared a half-dozen of my fave Randy Rhoads tracks below. Enjoy.