Randall William Rhoads, otherwise known as Randy Rhoads, helped kick start Neo-Classical Metal. Had he not died in a freak plane crash, it would have been Rhoads, not Yngwie who got the most credit.
I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was almost eighteen. Most guitarists pick theirs up sooner. So I arrived late to the ballgame.
At the time, this album was huge. It brought Rhoads back to the forefront, and it seemed like everyone who played guitar at the time listed Rhoads as one of their biggest influences.
Ozzy Osbourne’s Randy Rhaods Tribute
When Rhoads died in March 1982, I was still a kid. We all thought he was the best guitarist ever because he was doing something completely different. Rhoads’ style of composition was a notch above everyone else. We fondly remembered the songs he wrote.
When Randy Rhoads Tribute came out in 1987, the Metal world has already changed. Neo-Classical had already arrived and there was a guitarist on every street corner who could play blazing fast runs and arpeggios.
It’s kind of like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Everyone nowadays knows every move. We often forget to give credit to the Gracie family for bringing it to America.
Best songs on the album? All of them. But what really stands out? Well, Rhoads’ long solo on Suicide Solution. And of course Mr. Crowley, one of the best songs ever written. And of course, you have to love Dee because it’s one of the only places you can hear Randy Rhoads speak. You get a hint of the type of guy he was.
Ozzy only released Crazy Train from this album as a single. This album had been shelved since 1982. It was supposed to be released that year, but Rhoads died in a freak plane crash and Ozzy decided to hold it and pick a time that was right. If I’m not mistaken, he also wanted permission from Delores Rhoads, Randy’s mother. He wanted to get the timing right, which is very understandable and honorable.
The timing was right. The album took off. It topped out at #6 on the Billboard charts and went on to be double Platinum in the States.
In 1988, the year I bought my first guitar, in every guitar store, you’d hear some kid playing Dee. You’ll also hear some other kid badly playing the outro solo of Mr. Crowley.
What was the legacy? Huge! Randy Rhoads Tribute influenced everybody, even people who didn’t like Metal.
For me though, it was really sad. I never knew Rhoads personally as I was just a kid from a refinery town. However, I really wish he hadn’t died as this is all we got from him. His composition style was improving so fast that I bet you he would have invented Romantic Metal, not us. He was headed in that direction.
Does it still hold up today? Yes. No matter how good of a musician you are, composition should always be first. If the songs suck, you can be the best musician on the planet, and it wouldn’t matter.
That’s why Rhoads was so important. He was not only a phenomenal musician, he co-wrote two of the best Metal albums ever. And Randy Rhoads Tribute features Rhoads playing live.
Featured image credits:
Andrew King – Randy Rhoads Sophia Gardens Cardiff 1980 License – CC BY-SA 2.0