On this day 31 years ago, a guitar legend faced a horrible exit from this world. Randy Rhoads, who was only 25 years old at the time, was the lead guitarist for both Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band prior to his untimely death.
As Osbourne discusses in depth in his 2010 memoir, I Am Ozzy, Rhoads was killed in a plane crash while on tour with Osbourne’s band. Rhoads was apparently the opposite of Osbourne in terms of substance abuse; the worst he did was smoke cigarettes. Anyway, according to Osbourne, Rhoads and the band’s makeup artist, Rachel Youngblood, were both passengers on a small plane being flown by a pilot who had lost his license six years earlier during a helicopter crash.
Having a nose full of cocaine and recklessly flying with two passengers on board, Andrew C. Aycock crashed the plane into a barn, killing himself, Rhoads, and Youngblood while Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne were asleep in the tour bus nearby.
Rhoads was greatly influenced by classical music, which was shown through his technique. He is acknowledged as one of the greatest heavy metal guitarists of all time. Also, many Ozzy fans recognize the first two Ozzy Osbourne albums, on which Rhoads was featured, as the best solo efforts from the Prince of Darkness.
While Randy Rhoads is long gone, his honor is respected to this day and will continue as long as heavy metal lives.