There really is no such thing as “The Greatest” especially when it comes to guitar players. Throughout music history we have seen so many great guitar players, with different styles and techniques. That being said though, there are certain players we all are drawn to more than others. For me personally, and millions of others our favorite, most influential guitar player of all time was killed in a plane crash thirty five years ago today. I’m speaking of the one and only Randy Rhoads.
Man, I’ll tell you something, those planes sure do know how to take our legends from us. We have lost some of the greatest most innovative musicians to plane crashes, going all the way back to Rock And Roll’s first tragedy when Buddy Holly was taken from us. But the loss of Randy seems even worse than most others, because there was really no reason for him to be in the plane. It was just a “joyride” that went terribly wrong. And just like that we lost one of the most talented musicians in music history.
It would truly be interesting to see what Randy would be doing today had he lived. One thing is for sure, the music he would’ve given us may have been the most rewarding of the past thirty plus years. He most likely would’ve experimented in many types of music, but I also truly believe that he also could’ve come back to Hard Rock and Roll music, once he got the bad taste out of his mouth of the Quiet Riot, and Ozzy Osbourne years. And that may what’s most tragic of all is that Randy’s last days were not very happy ones. He felt trapped in his current situation with Ozzy, and was beginning to realize what a snake Sharon Osbourne was. After years of broken promises, he was counting the days where he could leave it all behind, and just deal with the “music” part of it as a student and a teacher.
As I type this story I’m listening to Side Two of The Diary Of A Madman album, in my humble opinion the final title track was a sample of what was to come. Hard Rocking riffs and solos, with a classical influence. Full of heart and emotion, with a technique that can’t be taught because it was all his own. And that’s why we love Randy so much. He was real, he didn’t just go through the motions. The emotion he played with touched us all then, and no matter how many times we hear the music it touches us now. Yes, Randy might not of left us a huge quantity of music, but what he did leave is of the greatest quality ever made. Thank you Randy, you’re music has been a huge part of my life since I was a young boy, and now that I’m a man it means so much more. I know I’m not alone in that feeling. Pull Out Blizzard and Diary today, or the live album Tribute, or even the first two Quiet Riot albums. Celebrate the life, not the death of one of the most influential guitar players to ever walk this planet.
Thirty Five years later Randy’s legacy is alive and well. He’s more popular today all these years later then he was the very day he was killed. His playing has influenced countless musicians, and songwriters. He’s on the top tier of legendary icons no longer with us. With the exception of Jimi Hendrix, no other guitar player is as revered with such a small quantity of recorded material. Ironically like Jimi it almost seems like fate. Like he was only supposed to be here a short period of time to display his brilliance, then be gone. Then again he’s not really gone, because we still hear the music he wrote and performed from classic rock radio, football stadiums, sporting events, even from other musicians who continue to emulate, and be influenced by him. In reality he will continue to outlive us all.
Huge Shout Out to the Randy Rhoads Society, and Randy’s bandmate Bob Daisley for the great pictures, and keeping his legacy alive.