Randy Rhoads: Guitar God Who Saved Ozzy Osbourne's Career But Died At 25

By Jacob Shelton
British musician Ozzy Osbourne and American musician Randy Rhodes (1956 - 1982) perform at the Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois, January 24, 1982. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Randy Rhoads, the guitar prodigy on Ozzy Osbourne's early solo albums, rocked hard and died young. The bizarre airplane accident that took his life is without a doubt the most senseless of senseless rock 'n roll deaths. It's hard to imagine Osbourne doing so well -- he'd been kicked out of Black Sabbath, after all -- without a musical enabler like Rhodes. Like Eddie Van Halen, Rhoads helped change the course of guitar playing in he 1980s. He brought a classical flare to hard rock and hair metal that's been imitated but never replicated.

The thing that tends to be ignored in every story about Rhoads' life is how kind and gentle he was. His offstage life was a complete 180 of how he was onstage with a guitar in his hand. Rhoads lived anything but a "Crazy Train" lifestyle, which is why his death from a plane crash in 1982 was so shocking.