When Ozzy Osbourne was dismissed from Black Sabbath following the release of 1978’s Never Say Die, many believed the metal legend would never make it on his own.
However, with his first solo effort, 1980's Blizzard of Ozz, Ozzy completely silenced the doubters.
It was one of the more astounding career comebacks in rock history—but he didn’t do it alone. Ozzy hit the jackpot with guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads, who was not only a remarkable musician and songwriter but also a true innovator.
Even when the guitar world still feeling the tremors of EVH’s “Eruption," Rhoads’ epic playing, killer riffs and heavily neo-classical-influenced solos on tracks such as “Crazy Train," “Suicide Solution” and “Mr. Crowley” helped him stand apart from the crowd.
His time with Osbourne might have pushed him into the mainstream, but it wasn't Rhoads' first gig. A part of Quiet Riot since 1975, recording two albums and clocking up hundreds of live performances, he already was a veteran of the hard rock scene.
The video below shows Randy in action at one such performance from 1979, where he can be seen treating the audience to a monster unaccompanied guitar solo that highlights his unique meld of classical, fusion, jazz and hard rock influences.
It was filmed at the Starwood in Hollywood. Even the 22-year-old Rhoads had already appeared there several times before. Luckily, this particular night was captured on film.
Rhoads died March 19, 1982, in a plane crash in Leesburg, Florida. However, more than 30 years after his death, his style, technique, tone and songwriting remain just as influential and continue to inspire.
Jonathan Graham is an ACM UK graduate based in London studying under the likes of Guthrie Govan and Pete Friesen. He is the creator of ForgottenGuitar.com, a classic-guitar media website, and is completing his debut album, Protagonist, due for release in 2016. Updates also can be found at Graham's YouTube channel.