The world of hard rock and heavy metal was forever changed on March 19, 1982, when guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads died tragically in a senseless plane crash caused by a showboating pilot (full story). At 25-years old, the former Quiet Riot member was destined for greatness as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist.
Rhoads and Ozzy only recorded two albums together – Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman – but his guitar playing on those albums elevated him to legendary status in the metal community. His extraordinary riffs and awe-inspiring solos have left an indelible mark on music fans and fellow musicians, and cemented his place in rock and roll history.
The loss of Rhoads was so devastating to Ozzy that he questioned whether he wanted to continue performing. Ultimately, Ozzy soldiered on, albeit with a heavy heart caused by the loss of his beloved friend. Through the years, Ozzy has introduced the world to some other amazing guitarists, most notably, Zakk Wylde.
Ozzy wasn’t the only frontman that was devastated by Rhoads’ untimely demise. Quiet Riot lead singer, Kevin DuBrow (who has since passed away), dedicated “Thunderbird” to his friend and former bandmate. The song appeared on Quiet Riot’s most successful album – Metal Health – which was released shortly after Rhoads’ death.
DuBrow had written most of the song before Rhoads’ passing, but added the final verse after the tragic plane crash that took his friend.
“When all is said…all is done…still I live…and carry on. Don’t look back…but think of me…we’ll meet again. Fly away…fly on, Thunderbird fly.”
R.I.P. Randy Rhoads – You may be gone, but you’re not forgotten. Your music will live on forever!