Who was Randy Rhoads?
The late American guitarist Randall William Rhoads, was born in Santa Monica, California USA, on 6 December 1956, meaning that Sagittarius was his zodiac sign. He’s probably remembered best for having been a co-founder and the guitarist of the American heavy metal band Quiet Riot, while he also played the guitar and co-wrote the songs on famous British singer-songwriter John Michael ‘Ozzy’ Osbourne’s first two albums “Blizzard of Ozz” and “Diary of a Madman”, released in 1980 and 1981, respectively.
Education and early life
Randy was raised alongside his two older siblings in Santa Monica, solely by their mother Delores Violet Rhoads, as their father William Arthur Rhoads abandoned the family when Randy was less than two years old; both William and Delores were music teachers, thus Randy’s interest in music from a very early age. His brother Kelle was also a musician.
The siblings grew up without owning a stereo, and thus entertained themselves by creating their own music; Randy’s favorite bands while growing up were The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. He was eight when Scott Shelly began teaching him rock guitar, however, less than a year later, Scott approached Randy’s mother admitting that he was no longer able to teach him, as Randy’s knowledge of the guitar had surpassed his own.
He studied at Jon Muir Middle School, and there met his future bandmate and best friend American hard rock musician and photographer Kelly Garni; they then formed their first band The Whore, thus launching their career as musicians.
Randy didn’t share many details about his education, but it’s known that he matriculated from Burbank High School in 1974.
Randy’s career and band Quiet Riot
The Whore rehearsed at the Hollywood nightspot Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco, and performed at backyard parties in Los Aneles, California in the mid-‘70s.
— 🤘Shred Guitarists⚡ (@ShredRGuitarist) November 13, 2019
Randy, Kelly and Randy’s brother Kelle then formed the cover band Violet Fox, but which dissolved five months later; Randy then formed several bands which disbanded in less than two months, including Mildred Pierce and The Katzenjammer Kids. He knew what kind of musician he wanted to be, after watching American rock ‘n’ roll singer Alice Cooper perform live.
Randy and Kelly were 16 when they formed their band Little Women, and then renamed it to Quiet Riot when they were 18, after the band was joined by drummer Drew Forsyth and vocalist Kevin DuBrow. Randy didn’t initially like Kevin, as he’d envisioned a different frontman for their band, someone similar to David Bowie or Alice Cooper, however, Kevin performed well and was loved by the audience.
Quiet Riot signed with Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) in 1977, and their first two albums “Quiet Riot” and “Quiet Riot II” were released only in Japan, and never in the US. Kelly was fired from the band in 1978, after he’d got into a fistfight with Randy and threatened to kill Kevin – he was replaced by Rudy Sarzo.
Disappointed by not being able to sign a US recording deal, Randy quit Quiet Riot and became a guitarist in Ozzy Osbourne’s band; Quiet Riot then disbanded in 1980, but began playing again in 1982. Randy didn’t initially want to attend the audition for Ozzy Osbourne’s band, and had to be convinced by American musician Dana Strum; Ozzy was drunk when Randy performed for him, and he was instantly hired.
Ozzy and Randy then founded their band The Blizzard of Ozz, and released their eponymous debut album on 12 September 1980, which spawned hits “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley”. Their second album “Diary of a Madman” was released in October 1981, and the same year saw Rudy Sarzo (previously the drummer of Quiet Riot) join the band.
Although Randy and Ozzy were good friends, Randy was determined to leave The Blizzard of Ozz once his contract had expired, because Ozzy’s drug and alcohol addiction had made it difficult for the band members to tour and perform live; he was once so drunk that he fired the entire band, but had no memory of it after sobering up.
Randy was still a member of The Blizzard of Ozz at the time of his death.
Love life and relationships
Randy rarely spoke about his love life in public, but there are still two girls whom he dated that his fans know about.
He was once in a relationship with American singer and model Jodi Vigier; it’s believed that they were together for two years before breaking up in 1980.
Randy was then in a relationship with American singer, actress and model Jo Jo Laine, and they were together at the time of his death; he didn’t marry, and had no children.
There are rumors circulating the internet claiming that Randy had an affair with American TV personality Sharon Osbourne in 1981, a year before she married Ozzy.
— Sharon Osbourne (@MrsSOsbourne) March 19, 2020
Interesting facts and hobbies
Randy was 5ft 7ins (1.7m) tall, and weighed only 110lbs (48kgs).
He was a collector of toy trains, and travelled around England searching for toy trains the first time he arrived there.
Randy wasn’t a fan of partying, rarely drank alcohol – his favorite drink was Anisette – and didn’t use drugs, but was a heavy smoker.
Randy’s brother Kelle described him as a ‘fairly devout Lutheran’.
His mother died at the age of 95 on 11 November 2015.
Death and wealth
Randy’s final performance was at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on 18 March 1982; he died the next day, aged 25, when the bus driver and private pilot Andrew Aycock crashed a single-engine Beechcraft F35, with Randy and make-up artist Rachel Youngblood on board. Andrew played with the plane, trying to fly as close as possible to their bus which was on the airstrip, wanting to wake up drummer Tommy Aldridge who was sleeping in it; Andrew hit the bus with the plane’s right wing on his third pass, and then crashed into a pine tree. All three passengers were killed instantly, and their bodies burned beyond recognition.
Randy’s net worth was estimated at over $1.3 million at the time of his death.