When guitar legend Randy Rhoads passed away in 1982 at the age of 25, he left a legacy shaped by what he accomplished in a short amount of time, and an even greater question as to what more he could have accomplished, given more time. This isolated guitar track from 1981’s Diary Of A Madman features Randy’s guitar playing on ‘Flying High Again’
“Randy’s clean approach to soloing is what made him so incredibly special.”
Randy’s status as one of the most gifted musicians to ever walk the earth is undying!
Listen to Randy Rhoads’ Isolated Guitar Track “Flying High Again” from Ozzy Osbourne’s Diary Of A Madman
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Randy Rhoads: The 1982 Max Norman Interview
While working as the resident engineer at England’s Ridge Farm Studio, Max Norman was hired by Ozzy Osbourne to produce Blizzard of Ozz.
Released in 1980, the platinum album revitalized Osbourne’s career and made Randy Rhoads a guitar hero. Norman was back onboard for 1981’s Diary of a Madman, which Ozzy cites as his personal favorite among his records.
Our interview, which took place on August 4, 1982, focused on the techniques Max used to capture Randy’s sound on those Ozzy Osbourne albums.
How did you record Randy’s parts?
Both of the albums were done at Ridge Farm. There’s a fairly live room downstairs underneath the control room, which we put him in and shut the doors. Well, he wasn’t in there, but the Marshall amp was in there.
There was a close mic and a distant mic down there. So all of the original rhythm tracks were done like that. We replaced a lot of them a bit later on, because we opened those doors and turned the Marshall out toward the studio and put even more mics out in the studio, so we got a much bigger sound from it. In fact, we went back and backtracked on some of them.
How many tracks would you use for the rhythm guitar?
It depends. Some of those tracks have a lot of parts there. Let’s see: “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll,” for instance. On that sort of slow-tempo thing, there’d be quite a few rhythm tracks there, apart from playing parts. There’d be a couple of power chord tracks, maybe one steel-string acoustic, and probably two or three other guitars playing parts.
Very few D.I. [direct input] guitars on the tracks – mostly through the amp, turned down to get a clean sound. It was all done through a Marshall. He had a polka-dot Charvel that we used – pretty much all the guitar tracks were done with that guitar. Plus he had a creamy white Les Paul. We used that too. That was pretty good, pretty chunky.
Did Randy do much overdubbing?
Yeah, quite a bit. We spent a lot of time in the control room, he and I, just sitting up there going through the songs one by one. He had a lot of ideas. He had a lot of arrangements together. We’d take half an hour to get a sound, and then put those downs.
We spent a lot of time doing dubs, in fact. The great thing about it was he had the parts so together that when it came out, it didn’t sound like there were that many there. Each part seemed to jigsaw into each other real well.
Did Randy have a way of psyching himself up in the studio?
Not essentially. He was very nervous in the studio – always very nervous, I thought. He was extremely careful about what he’d play. If there was one thing out, he would go back and do that again, which is pretty good policy, really, because a lot of those tracks – especially the lead guitar tracks – are triple-tracked, in fact. So he would play them three times. He would play the whole solo three times.