This Day In Rock. RANDY RHOADS
Randall William "Randy" Rhoads (December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982) was the guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot.
A devoted student of classical guitar, Rhoads combined his classical music influences with his own heavy metal style. He died in a plane crash while on tour with Osbourne in Florida in 1982. He was just 25. Despite his short career, Rhoads, who was a major influence on neoclassical, is cited as an influence by many guitarists and is included in several "Greatest Guitarist" lists.
In 2012 Andrew Klein published a 400-plus-page coffee table book (written with veteran music scribe Steven Rosen and former Rhoads guitar student Peter M. Margolis) — titled, simply, Randy Rhoads. Below a couple of Klein’s answers to Gibson.com’s Russell Hall.
What did you discover about him that surprised you?
“That he was deeply romantic, for one thing. Who could have known that, other than his fiancé? Also, how funny he was. When he was on-stage, with his guitar, there was a certain persona that went along with that. Unless you were on the bus with him, or in a movie theater, or in some situation like that, you didn’t see his humor. I thought I knew everything there was to know about him, before writing the book, but what I knew had come only from reading magazines. Spending time and developing friendships with those who knew him best allowed us to present his story in a complete way”.
What is it about Randy that makes him so important to people, beyond his talent on guitar?
“Guitar heroes — whether it’s Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan or even players who are still with us — are generally loved for their guitar playing, and it pretty much stops there. Most of their fans don’t have the type of obsession people have with Randy. He was incredibly charismatic. There was a quality about him that was similar to what James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and John Lennon had, something intangible that made him very different and very special. And I think that translated through his guitar playing. We love his guitar playing in part because we love him. Nobody acted like him, nobody talked like him and nobody thought like him. He was a teacher, at his core. Whether you’re a doctor, a lawyer, or in whatever endeavor you pursue, he inspires you to do what you do even better. That's why we love him. He constantly worked hard to better himself instead of being satisfied with where he was. We could all use a little bit of that mentality in our everyday lives”.