Shredders of Ozz: Ozzy Osbourne's Amazing Guitarists

01/19/2012
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(Gibson) Few things in life are certain, but one thing that is certain is this: if you're playing guitar for Ozzy Osbourne, you're a virtuoso. Osbourne's current guitarist, Gus G., recently expressed the thoughts of many with these words: "I like all [Ozzy's guitarists]. I like Zakk Wylde for what he did, and I'm a big fan of the Jake E. Lee albums. The first Ozzy solo album I heard was Diary of a Madman, and I thought Randy [Rhoads] was amazing. I don't think I have a favorite. I really like all the guys he's had." Below are profiles and quotes from the sensational six-stringers who've backed Osbourne during more than three decades of solo work.

Randy Rhoads: A classically influenced virtuoso, Randy Rhoads was introduced to Osbourne by bassist Dana Strum, from Slaughter, when Osbourne was seeking a guitarist with whom to launch his solo career following his split with Black Sabbath. Rhoads's tenure with Ozzy was brief he died tragically in a plane crash in 1982 but his contributions to rock guitar are monumental. "As a guitar player he was just phenomenal," Osbourne told Guitar Shop, in 1998. "His heart wasn't really into rock 'n' roll so much as the classics. He was one of these guys who, once he tasted what he wanted to taste, wanted to move on. He wasn't really interested in becoming the next guitar hero."

Jake E. Lee: Jake E. Lee's stint with Osbourne, which extended from late 1982 until 1987, provided much-needed stability during a difficult period. Lee's playing on 1983's Bark at the Moon and 1986's The Ultimate Sin both of which featured his contributions as co-writer as well as guitarist was sensational. "On the first album, I felt [pressure] because there were a lot of guitar players who wanted this gig," he told Guitar World, in 1986. "I knew there were going to be a lot of people listening to see if I did any good or not. But I'm not the kind of person who really cares what other people think. There are guitar players who still come up to Ozzy and go, 'I'm the guitar player you should have got.'"

Check out the rest of the list here.

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Copyright Gibson.com - Excerpted here with permission.

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