Remembering Randy Rhoads- 27 years After His Fatal Plane Crash
March 19th marks the 27th anniversary of the passing of Randy Rhoads. Rhoads was born in Santa Monica, California in 1956 into a musical family. His mother ran a music school in North Hollywood & Rhoads was trained in classical guitar. By the late seventies he would form the band Quiet Riot in Hollywood and would lave by 1979 to join Ozzy Osbourne. Back then Ozzy was down & out after being fired from Black Sabbath. He auditioned Rhoads & hired him on the spot as he was just tuning up. Ozzy described it like having "god enter his life".
The band would be called Blizzard of Ozz & in November 1979 material for the Blizzard of Ozz & Diary of a Madman albums were recorded. The rest is Heavy Metal history as the band went on a highly successful Tour in 1980/1981 and the albums became classics. Blizzard of Ozz has sold over four million copies and the songs "Crazy Train' "Mr. Crowley" "I Dont Know" & "Suicide Solution " are classics. Randy Rhoads became known as one of the best young guitarist in the world, he influenced a whole new generation of future guitarist and helped Heavy Metal music form its place in music history.
On March 18th 1982 Rhoads would play his last concert with Ozzy in Knoxville Tennessee. After driving for hours to Orlando Florida, the tour entourage stopped for an overnight rest in Leesburg Florida. The property had a small airstrip and one one of the planes there was owned by the bus driver Andrew Aycock. He took a joy ride test flight with keyboardist Don Airy and all went well.
Randy Rhoads had a fear of flying but was convinced to go on a second joy ride flight with Aycock. Rhoads loved photography and wanted to take some Ariel photos, and was assured by the pilot there would be no risks taken. Rhoads and hairdresser Rachel Youngblood climbed aboard for the flight ride as the rest of the band was asleep below in the tour bus. The pilot decided to "buzz" the tour bus' roof for fun. He made it twice but on the third try, the left wing clipped the back side of the tour bus, tore the fiberglass roof then sent the plane spiraling. The plane crashed into the garage of a nearby mansion, bursting into flames. Rhoads was killed instantly, as well as the others. All three bodies were burnedbeyond recognition, and were identified by dental records. The autopsy showed Aycock had traces of cocaine; (for the record)Rhoads' test revealed only nicotine. He was only 25 years old.
The tragedy hit the music world hard,and deeply affected Ozzy Osbourne. In 1987 he released the album Tribute which featured Ozzy & the band with Randy Rhoads on guitar from the 1981 tour.