This morning, Ozzy Osbourne posted the following message on Facebook…“29 years ago today I lost my best friend, business partner and the greatest guitar player I have ever worked with. Loss is meant to get easier with time, it doesn’t.” Considering the talented guitarists who have played with Ozzy since Randy Rhoads’ untimely death in 1982, his message speaks volumes about what an incredible guitar player the world lost on that tragic day.
Over the years, Ozzy has put out numerous albums with a variety of different musicians, and while they were all memorable in their own way, none have come close to the legendary status of the two albums featuring Rhoads on guitar – “Blizzard of Ozz” and “Diary of a Madman.”
Because he died so young, Rhoads is not always mentioned as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, but even with his limited body of work, he belongs in the discussion. There is no doubt that he would be right up there with every other guitar hero if he were still alive today.
Rhoads could play shredding solos with the best of them, but that isn’t what made him unique. His songwriting ability and infectious riffs are the reasons why “Blizzard of Ozz” and “Diary of a Madman” are a level above all of Ozzy’s other solo records. The chemistry between Ozzy and Rhoads is something that is nearly impossible to duplicate.
By combining the beauty and elegance of classical music with the power and energy of heavy metal, Rhoads created a sound so unique that it has never been captured again. Many have learned to play the guitar parts that he created, but none have been able to create his magical sound in all of the years since his passing.
In an interview with Ozzy on the anniversary of Rhoads’ death a few years back, he talked about what it was like to hear him play guitar for the first time. “It was so good that I thought that I was dreaming” said Ozzy.
After only three years and two albums together, Ozzy’s dream turned into a nightmare. On March 19, 1982, a plane carrying Rhoads from Tennessee to Florida crashed into Ozzy’s tour bus. The crash took the life of the rising star at the age of 25 and deprived music fans around the world of the chance to see him evolve into one of the greatest guitarists of all time. No one knows for sure what Ozzy and Rhoads would have created over the years, but there is no doubt that it would have been legendary.
Although Rhoads died long before his time, his work still lives on today, and will continue to do so for many years to come…