A Look At Randy Rhoads Legacy

11/08/2011
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(Gibson) When Ozzy Osbourne left Black Sabbath and went solo, some didn't expect much. Ozzy was strung out and his last album with Sabbath, 1978's Never Say Die, was not a classic by the band's own admission. But Ozzy had a trump up his sleeve – guitarist Randy Rhoads. The young Rhoads, then 24, had previously played with Quiet Riot, but his playing on the Blizzard of Ozz album arrived like a lightning bolt.

Even in the prime era of Eddie Van Halen, Rhoads' epic riffing and shredding was astonishing. While nothing can dent the impact of the playing on Blizzard of Ozz, many Rhoads aficiandos believe Diary of a Madman to be more impressive – it's on the second Ozzy album that Rhoads fully melds his classical, fusion, jazz and hard rock influences.

Rhoads was different from most "metal" guitarists. "I have a lot of influences from everywhere," he told Guitar Player in 1982. "I like a lot of classical music and blues rock… I love Allan Holdsworth's playing. He's got a lot of great jazz scales. Andy Summers of the Police is definitely unique. Pat Metheny does some great acoustic stuff. John McLaughlin is technically great, but his is not one of my favorite styles. Leslie West was very important to me. He has a great feel. He is powerful and moody. I like Earl Klugh. Jeff Beck can do anything – he can play one note and it's great. Ritchie Blackmore was great; I loved his expression. I love B.B. King. I like Michael Schenker's and Steve Lukather's playing a lot. I also like Ronnie Montrose, especially with Edgar Winter. I like the way he bends; I could never bend like that. I liked all the English players in the '70s who used a lot of vibrato.

"But I don't own any rock guitar albums – mostly, I like mellow jazz and classical."

If that set of influences was something far from the norm, so was the Ozzy band's way of working. Diary of a Madman was recorded almost immediately after Blizzard of Ozz. There was a short European tour in between, but by the time Ozzy, Randy and the band made their debut U.S. tour, Diary of a Madman was already finished. more on this story

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