March 19 marks a sad day for fans of rock and heavy metal. Two astonishingly talented guitarists, both leading, pioneering figures in their genre and era, died on this date. Paul Kossoff, lead guitarist of rock band Free and Ozzy Osbourne‘s Randy Rhoads died only 6 years apart. Both at the young age of 25.
Ask a cross-section of heavy metal fans who the greatest ever guitarist of the genre is and you can bet your last guitar string the name of Randy Rhoads will not be far from most lips. After Ozzy Osbourne left Black Sabbath he was looking for a guitarist for his solo project. So the story goes, Ozzy heard Rhoads warming up and hired him on the spot, so impressed was the Prince of Darkness with the teenaged guitarist.
Born December 6, 1956, in Santa Monica, California, Randy Rhoads began his reputation as a talented young musician in the heavy metal band Quiet Riot, playing on the band’s first two (very limited release) albums. But it was with Ozzy Osbourne that he became known, and still is known, as one of the greatest guitaristsof all time. Amazingly, Blizzard of Ozz, which contains the well-know song “Crazy Train” and Diary of a Madman are the only two albums Rhoads released with Ozzy before his life was tragically cut short.