TOOLS OF THE TRADE: Karl Sandoval Polka-Dot V, Jackson Custom Flying V, Gibson Les Paul Customs, Marshall 100-watt stacks, MXR effects, Vox wah
KEY ALBUMS: Blizzard of Ozz, Diary of a Madman, Tribute
SIGNATURE SONGS: "Crazy Train," "Flying High Again," "I Don't Know," "Mr. Crowley," "Dee"
HIDDEN GEM: "S.A.T.O."
HALLMARK: Neoclassical sound and repeating licks
Sandwiched between Eddie Van Halen's landscape-changing pyrotechnics and Yngwie Malmsteen's storming onto the scene, a young L.A. guitarist named Randy Rhoads was creating perhaps the smallest yet most influential body of work in metal history.
When Ozzy Osbourne hired the young Rhoads, he was immediately thrust upon one of the biggest stages in rock. Having already cut his teeth during a short stint with Quiet Riot, Rhoads penned one hell of a coming out party— Blizzard of Ozz. From that auspicious start, it was readily apparent Rhoads had it all. Tapping licks—similar to Van Halen's yet still his own—neoclassically influenced harmonic minor phrases, repeating licks that moved up and down the fretboard, pedal-point riffs, lethal legato technique, modal mastery, and an immediately identifiable tone. The classically trained Rhoads was even given opportunity to show off his nylon-string abilities with "Dee," an ode to his mother, and also likely the first exposure to the classical guitar idiom for thousands of budding guitarists in 1980.
Like so many rock icons before him, Rhoads died prematurely, victim of a small plane crash at the age of 25, cutting short yet another brilliant career.