Quiet Riot was a staple of the late 1970s club scene in Los Angeles, contemporaries of the likes of a young band by the name of Van Halen. But whereas the big-time came calling on the latter band, Quiet Riot was left to languish by record companies, who were by then busy trying to cash in on disco and new wave. After releasing two records in Japan only, the band would temporarily go on hiatus when, in 1980, their superstar guitarist, Randy Rhoads, was selected to be the sideman to recently fired Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Tragically, Rhoads’ life would be cut short just two years later in a plane crash while on tour in Florida. But, not before he had turned the world on its ear with his fiery, classical-inspired lead playing on Osbourne’s first two solo records.
Alex Skolnick (Testament), Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth), and Brad Gillis (Night Ranger) were among the many talented musicians who came together for the Randy Rhoads Remembered concert held on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA, as tribute to the late Ozzy Osbourne guitarist.
Along with the aforementioned guitarists were many other players, each of whom performed their favorite favorite Ozzy/Randy song played through a replica Rhoads rig accompanied by a house band dubbed “The Madmen,” featuring, among others, Rudy Sarzo – Rhoad’s friend and bandmate in both Quiet Riot and Ozzy — on bass, and co-organizer of the event, Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Ozzy, Foreigner), on drums. There were also special guest appearances by Randy’s brother Kelle Rhoads on vocals; Phil Soussan (Ozzy) on bass, and Neil Turbin (Anthrax) on vocals.
A highlight of the night came when most of the guitarists assembled on stage with acoustic guitars in hand to perform Randy’s classical piece “Dee” (from the first Ozzy solo album, Blizzard Of Ozz). You can watch video of the all-star finale here below.
Happy Birthday today to the madman who showed the world his diary, who put the globe in a blizzard, who made an absolute art of being one of the most influential and loved hard rock/heavy metal frontman in the entire elongated history of the music scene and business, John “Ozzy” Osbourne.
The personal life and antics of Osbourne and his unabashed outrageousness could fill volumes upon volumes of tomes. Osbourne is like a cat with nine lives who has already extinguished eight and a half, his onstage and off-stage antics, wild loose unrestrained abandon, a glorious wonderful mess of a life and a human being are the stuff of legend, urban and otherwise. There are fans of the man who have never even heard his music, or have only heard the most minute of musical flurries, and yet, those people are as passionate about the day to day, era to era styles and manifestations of Ozzy, as if it’s witnessing a one-man freak show, rubber-necking at a car wreck, looking and listening where angels fear to tread.
Today marks the anniversary of the death of one of hard rock and heavy metal’s true guitar heroes, Randy Rhoads. Rhoads, who found massive success with Ozzy Osbourne’s first solo band back in 1980, after starting his career in an early version of Quiet Riot, died on March 19, 1982, a victim of a plane crash accident deep in the state of Florida while on tour with Ozzy. His death propelled him into the same vanguard as other legendary guitarists who also had their careers cut short by tragedy, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Duane Allman and of course, Jimi Hendrix. But like those guitarists, it wasn’t just the fact that Randy Rhoads dying young cemented his and their legendary status. They were all well on their way to the pantheon of musical genius while still alive. But by dying young, all of them suddenly elevated into a “frozen in time” moment, a moment in which the possibilities of growing old and possibly tame, eluded them all.
The classic Ozzy Osbourne albums, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman, are scheduled to be reissued in May 2011. The two albums are cited by metalheads around the world as classics, and were indeed an important chapter in the evolution of metal during the 1980’s. They are the first two recordings by Ozzy following his years in Black Sabbath, and were key releases in him reasserting his position as the “Prince of Fucking Darkness!”
Lots of good new stuff has been included with these reissues, scheduled for release on May 31, 2011, and fans will have some different versions to choose from.
First up is the 30th Anniversary Edition of Blizzard of Ozz, including the entire original album recording that has been remastered by George Marino for the release. This CD will also have bonus tracks added, including a rare guitar solo from Randy Rhoads.
Second is the Diary of a Madman: Legacy Edition. This release will be a special 2-disc/double-album. The first disc will be entire original recording of the album, also remastered by Marino. The second disc is a live album, simply titled Ozzy Live, and is a recording from the Blizzard of Ozz tour. Third on the list is a single-disc version of Diary of a Madman.