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What Randy Rhoads Meant to me

In the late 1970s, Metal was dead. Disco was on the rise (and the backlash against it was in full force) and NOBODY was signing Metal bands to contracts. Black Sabbath fired Ozzy in 1979. Judas Priest was not yet big. Proto-Metal band Deep Purple had already broken up. And not quite Metal but a big influence on Metal - Led Zeppelin loses John Bonham.

So, that's it for Heavy Metal, right? Actually, no, this is where Metal starts a surge.

Randy Rhoads 1980

I was a kid when Randy Rhoads died

I had known that he was extraordinary, but not why he was. I only knew that everyone else thought he was a great guitarist.

I did love the two albums Rhoads co-wrote as at the time, Ozzy Osbourne was my favorite band. Keep in mind, I didn't know that Ozzy was the former lead singer of Black Sabbath. So although I was bummed Randy died, his death didn't hit me until years later, when I actually picked up a guitar.

1988, I get my first guitar and of all songs, the very first song I tried to learn was "Mr. Crowley." Yeah, I know. Bad first choice for a beginning guitarist. But that's how I was - driven to do what I wanted to do, not what other people said I should do. "Mr. Crowley" was one of my all-time favorite songs and God Dammit!, it's the song I wanted to learn.

Flashback to 1982. Randy Rhoads was dead. So that left Eddie Van Halen as the other Heavy Metal Guitar God. I'll probably lose fans for saying this, but I was never really a fan of Eddie Van Halen. Nothing against his guitar playing. Just musically, put anything Van Halen composed versus what Rhoads was writing and it's not even in the same ballpark.

Rhoads was on another level. It's been 30 years since his death and songs like "Mr. Crowley," "Revelation (Mother Earth)," "Diary of a Madman," "Goodbye to Romance," "Dee," etc., those are all very intricate songs. Imagine the direction Rhoads' guitar playing would have gone had he gone back to school and gotten his Masters' Degree (which was his intention had he not died in the plane crash). He would have been on another level and the 80s may have been even more accelerated.

Rhoads had something that nobody else had. I still to this day don't know how he did it. I've profusely studied Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Brahms symphonies, Wagner's operas, and ballet after ballet, so I think I know what I'm talking about here. Every note Rhoads played was the right note. He played flawlessly, and not in the inhuman machine way, but in an intensely passionate way that I wish I had a stronger knowledge of the English language so I could really describe what I mean.

So yeah, his death sucked on a whole different level of suck. We can only guess on what Rhoads would have achieved. I'm guessing Rhoads would have started the Symphonic Metal genre. Yes, I'm saying it. And I know you're thinking that I have a valid point. It would have been Randy Rhoads who would have kicked off Symphonic Metal and Metal music in general would be AT LEAST 10-15 years ahead of where it is now.