Celebrating Ozzy guitarist Randy Rhoads

Last year, a number of classic metal albums hit their 25th anniversary, including Metallica’s Master of Puppets, Slayer’s Reign in Blood, and Megadeth’s Peace Sells.

But 2011 also marked the 30th anniversary of the American release of two of the most important albums in metal history: Ozzy’s Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman.

Blizzard first came out overseas in 1980, but came out in the states in ’81, the same year Diary was released. Both albums were recorded back to back, and after getting the boot from Black Sabbath, Ozzy was determined to show his former bandmates up, big time. 

After his firing, Ozzy was in a drug induced funk, and was pulled out of the muck by his wife and manager Sharon. Then guitarist Randy Rhoads, who was in the first incarnation of Quiet Riot, joined the band, and the rest is history.

Ozzy and Randy made incredible music together, and Randy was a big pioneer in bringing classical and metal together like no one before. Both Randy and Eddie Van Halen were simultaneously breaking new ground on guitar in their own unique ways, and the exotic scales and dark themes Rhoads took from classical music are the architecture that helped build modern metal. At the same time, Ozzy’s bird and bat chomping antics were also earning him a notorious name in metal history that took him many years to live down.

But most important was the music, and on both Blizzard and Diary it’s incredible, and still holds up very well today. There’s also been a full-length gift book biography of Randy in the works for some time, and it’s now available from Velocity Publishing Group. As Blabbermouth tells us, the text of the book was written by long time Guitar Player contributor Steven Rosen and Andrew Klein, and the book is available directly through the publisher for $99.00.

Unfortunately, we lost Randy in a tragic plane crash in March 1982. Randy was 25. Before his untimely passing, Randy was reportedly going to leave Ozzy and pursue a degree in classical music at UCLA, and whether he ultimately stayed or left, or ever laid down any great metal guitar again, it ultimately doesn’t matter. 

Like Grover Jackson, who created the Randy Rhoads guitar model, told me, “People ask me whether I miss Randy as a guitar player. I miss him as a man.”