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RANDY RHOADS – ’28 Years Gone: A Tribute!’


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Associated Press:

March 20, 1982, Leesburg, Florida. A small plane crashed into a
mansion here and burst into flames yesterday, killing the lead
guitarist of the Ozzy Osbourne rock group and two other people,
police said.

The crash killed guitarist Randall Rhoads, 25, the pilot of the
Beechcraft Bonanza – Andrew Aycock, 36 – and Rachel Youngblood,
58, the group’s makeup artist and hairdresser. The plane’s pilot
was also the group’s bus driver.


March 19, 1982. It was twenty eight years ago today that the heavy metal world and the Rock music scene as a whole lost arguably the greatest electric guitar player of all times.

Randy Rhoads incendiary lead guitar shredding truly set the Rock N Roll scene ablaze when he first premiered as OZZY OSBOURNE’s lead guitarist in 1980. With the subsequent releases of “Blizzard Of Ozz” in the same year and “Diary Of A Madman” in 1981, there was now a big argument brewing as to who was the best lead guitarist in the world. Was Randy Rhoads better than Eddie Van Halen?

Unfortunately, that battle of the greats would not be fully realized. On 19 March 1982, while in Florida for the follow-up album “Diary of a Madman tour”, and just one week away from playing Madison Square Garden in New York City, the worst thing that could ever happen… happened.

Randy boarded a light aircraft piloted by Andrew Aycock – the band’s tour bus driver – which soon crashed while performing low passes over the band’s tour bus. In a prank gone deadly wrong, the right wing of the aircraft clipped the bus, grazing a tree (which sent it into a pinwheel) and then crashed into the attached garage of a nearby mansion bursting into flames, killing Rhoads, Aycock, and the band’s hairdresser, Rachel Youngblood.

Ozzy himself explained later in an interview what happened:

“I was sleeping on the bus. Don Airey saw it. At first I thought the bus driver had fallen asleep at the wheel, crashed into a truck and run off the road. The plane ripped the bus into a million pieces. All we’ve got are fragments. It was no prank. It was an accident and that’s it. For God’s sake, if I ever hear anybody say it was one of my practical jokes that went wrong, I’ll strangle the bastard. It was an accident, a horrible accident. I was crazy after it happened. I never spoke, I never went out. He was a hero, a true legend. ”

“He was a saint,” Ozzy added.

“He was an angel, and too good for this world. His death’s always on my mind. Every year at the anniversary of his birth and death, fans from all over the world gather at his grave site to honor his passing. We will never forget him. His musical legacy lives on in the minds and music of his many fans.”

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Drummer Tommy Aldridge recalls the tragic date:

“It was 7:30, 8:00 in the morning, and I had just woke up. All of a sudden there was an airplane wing flying through the side of the bus. The guy who was flying the plane had no business being there because he had been driving all night. It was like being on a movie set. Don Airey and I were running around with a fire extinguisher, but it was useless. It was the heaviest thing I have ever gone through. Randy had so much that he wanted to do, and he was so prolific, I just want to say how lucky I feel to have been associated with the gentleman and to have heard him night after night.”

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Producer Max Norman on Randy Rhoads:

“I met Randy at a place in London where the band was rehearsing. This was about two weeks before I engineered Blizzard of Ozz. The recording of that album, which took just over a month, was done at Ridge Farm. Usually all four people would be there playing in the same room for the basic tracks. We would lay down the vocals, drums, bass, and rhythm guitar simultaneously. As long as we got a good bass and drum track, we would take it from there. Then the guitars were overdubbed.

Randy was always very nervous in the studio. He was extremely careful about what he played. If there was one thing out, he would go back and do that again. That’s a pretty good policy, really, because a lot of those tracks–especially the lead guitar tracks–were triple-tracked.

He was the best guy at overdubbing solos and tracking them that I’ve ever seen.”

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Filmmaker (and former Rhoads student) Peter M. Margolis on Randy:

“I think back to being 22 years old and would I have been able to leave the home that I lived in for 22 years, leave my girlfriend and family with the threat that I would be moving to another country to live with a virtual stranger and may not return for a very long time. The answer for me is a definitive and resounding NO. Yet, that is what Randy did. But the more miraculous achievement that continues to astound me is “How does someone with 19 recorded songs to their name single-handedly change the way hard rock and heavy metal rock guitar is heard… forever?”

Toxicology reports conducted on Rhoads and Aycock at the Federal Aviation Administration’s civil aeromedical institute in Oklahoma City, determined that Rhoads had only nicotine in his system, but no drugs or alcohol. Cocaine was found in Aycock’s urine. A day after the crash, a shaken Ozzy Osbourne gave a sworn affidavit to the authorities: “At approximately nine a.m. on Friday, March 19, 1982, I was awoken from my sleep by a loud explosion. I immediately thought that we’d hit a vehicle on the road. I got out of the bed, screaming to my fiancé, Sharon, “Get off the bus!” Meanwhile, she was screaming to everyone else to get off the bus. After getting out of the bus, I saw that a plane had crashed. I didn’t know who was on the plane at the time. When we realized that our people were on the plane, I found it very difficult to get assistance from anyone to help. In fact, it took almost a half-hour before anyone arrived. One small fire engine arrived, which appeared to squirt three gallons of water over the inferno. We asked for further assistance, such as telephones, and didn’t receive any further help. In the end, we finally found a telephone and Sharon phoned her father.”

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The following ‘crash scene’ photos have rarely been seen by the public before… and speak volumes as to the reality of the tragic event all these years later. They are courtesy of Jody Mauk.

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In the end, Randy left behind a family that loved him dearly… and a world of music fans that would continue mourning him each and every day since his untimely demise.

You see, Randy wasn’t just some ‘guitar hero’… no, from his phenomenal playing on both those classic Ozzy albums, to the way he taught dozens upon dozens of kids how to play guitar at his mother’s Musonia school, to his pursuit of greater things in classical music (just weeks before he left us)… Randy Rhoads is the ultimate guitar God. There will never be another like him.

Kelle Rhoads On his brother Randy…

“I can’t think of anybody who deserves to be in heaven more. I think he will be remembered the way James Dean is: somebody who died real young and was able to make a few accomplishments. He was totally outstanding, but God took him back.”

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“Randy was so unique that I don’t think people will ever fully realize what a talent that guy was–not only in rock and roll, but in every other field. He was phenomenal in the classics. We loved each other very dearly. I swear to God, the tragedy of my life is the day he died. I’ve been doing this for a long, long time now with my life, and if ever I could say that I met a natural born star, it was a guy called Randy Rhoads, God bless him. Long live Randy Rhoads! If I could only put it in one word and people would believe me, as crazy as a reputation as I have, he was the most dedicated musician I ever met in my life. He was a master of his art.

– Ozzy Osbourne
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http://www.randyrhoads.us/

http://www.ozzy.com/