At Just 25 years of age at the time of his death – March 19, 1982, Randy Rhoads had already changed the face of heavy metal guitar forever.
As a founding member of Quiet Riot, Randy Rhoads was one of the hottest guitarists on the Los Angeles scene in the late 1970s. Rivaled only by the legendary Eddie (Edward Lodewijk) Van Halen, he was a rock ‘n’ roll innovator who combined his flashy playing style with a classical sensibility that, up until then, had rarely been heard in the metal genre.
Although Quiet Riot always packed the clubs in L.A, the band somehow seemed to be going nowhere. Hoping to break out of this musical dead end, Randy Rhoads auditioned for former Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne in 1979 at the urging of bassist Dana Strum. Rhoads was No fan of Black Sabbath’s music, nonetheless decided to give the gig a shot.
Randy Roads: The Early Years
1. Randy was born in Santa Monica, California. Both his parents were music teachers.
2. Randy was the youngest of three children, he had an older sister and an older brother.
3. When Randy was one, his father left the family and remarried.
4. As a single mom, Randy’s mother not only raised her three kids but also opened and ran a music school called Musonia.
5. Growing up, Randy and his brothers and sisters made their own music since the family didn’t own a stereo.
6. At age 7, Randy started taking folk and classical guitar lessons at his mom’s school, but he soon started learning the electric guitar. Before long, his teacher admitted he could no longer teach Randy since Rhoads’ knowledge of the instrument surpassed his own.
7. Randy’s mother Delores, who also played piano professionally, taught her son the instrument as well to help build his understanding of musical theory.
8. As a teen, Randy taught his best friend how to play bass and together they formed a band called The Whore.
9. Randy next formed the cover band Violet Fox with his brother Kelle on drums. During their five-month long career, they played songs by Mountain, The Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper and David Bowie.
10. Among the other short-lived bands Randy had after Violet Fox were groups called The Katzenjammer Kids and Mildred Pierce.
Randy Rhoads Graduated High School At The Age Of Sixteen
11. A 1971 Alice Cooper concert was a defining point in Randy’s life. At that show, he realized what he could become with his talent.
12. As a 16-year-old, Randy was able to graduate high school early thanks to a special program that condensed his studies.
13. During his teenage years, Rhoads formed the band Little Woman and played gigs at night while teaching guitar at his mom’s school during the day. The band would go on to become Quiet Riot.
14. Disillusioned that Quiet Riot wasn’t getting a record deal, Randy agreed to audition for Ozzy Osbourne. He auditioned for a drunk Prince of Darkness who later said of that performance, “He played this f***ing solo and I’m like, ‘Am I that f***ing stoned or am I hallucinating or what the f**k is this!’” He hired Randy on the spot.
15. In 1981, Randy started considering taking a break from rock music for a few years to pursue a degree in classical guitar at UCLA. It’s something that friends say probably would’ve happened had he not passed away.
16. While Randy was not a heavy drinker, he did smoke a lot.
17. One of Randy’s hobbies was collecting toy trains.
18. Randy’s last conversation with Ozzy was telling him to quit drinking so much. His final words to Oz were, “You’ll kill yourself, you know? One of these days.”
19. At Randy’s funeral, two photos were on his coffin: a picture of him and a shot of him and Ozzy performing onstage in San Francisco.
20. Randy is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino, California.