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Randy Rhodes Passes: March 19, 1982

March 19th, 2007

Twenty-Five years ago today one of the true greats of rock guitar died in a small plane accident. Randy Rhodes was an unknown when he began playing for Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band. Ozzy’s first solo album “Blizzard of Oz” was full of breathtaking guitar work. Rhodes, a classically trained guitarist, changed the way rock guitarists would think about their instrument.

With only two albums under his belt, on March 19, 1982, Rhodes was in a plane when the pilot decided, as a practical joke, it would be fun to buzz the tour bus where the rest of the band was sleeping. They did so three times, the wing of the plane clipping the bus on the fourth pass. Rhodes and two others, Andrew Aycock, 36 and hairdresser Rachel Youngblood 58 died in the accident. Rhodes was 25 years old. Rock and Roll had lost one more of it’s young stars to death by stupidity.

As a guy who spends a lot of time with a classical guitar in my lap, and who was 19 in 1982, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Rhodes was probably the last rock guitarist who included classical work in his rock repertoire. While many others did so in the 70s, the classical tracks had disappeared through the 80’s and is non-existent today in rock music.

More on Randy Rhodes can be found here and here. Most of the details for this post, I got here.

Meanwhile, here is a sample of me playing a Rhodes piece, a beautiful little classical piece called Dee.


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