6 December 1956
Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, United States
19 March 1982 (aged 25)
Randall William "Randy" Rhoads (December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982) was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. A devoted student of classical guitar, Rhoads often combined his classical music influences with his own heavy metal style. While on tour with Ozzy Osbourne, he would seek out classical guitar tutors for lessons. Despite his relatively short career, Rhoads is a major influence on neo-classical metal players that emerged in the 1980s. He is cited as an influence by many contemporary guitarists of all styles. He is included in several 'Greatest Guitarist' lists
Randy Rhoads's last show was played on Thursday, March 18, 1982 at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum in Knoxville, Tennessee. The next day, the band was headed to a festival in Orlando, Florida. After driving much of the night, they stopped on the property belonging to Jerry Calhoun, owner of "Florida Coach," in Leesburg, Florida. On it, there was a small airstrip lined with small helicopters and planes, and two houses. One belonged to the tour bus driver, Andrew Aycock, and the other was owned by Calhoun. Aycock - a licensed pilot - talked the band's keyboardist, Don Airey, into taking a test flight with him in a '55 Beechcraft Bonanza F-35. By some accounts the manager, Jake Duncan, was also on this first flight. The joyride ended, and the plane landed safely. Then Aycock took Rhoads and hairdresser/seamstress Rachel Youngblood on another flight. Airey persuaded Rhoads to go on the second flight, despite his fear of flying. Rhoads apparently agreed to go for two reasons: the seamstress had a heart condition so Aycock agreed to do nothing risky; also, Rhoads wanted to take an aerial photo as one of his hobbies was photography. During the second flight, attempts were made to "buzz" the tour bus where the other band members were sleeping. They succeeded twice, but the third attempt was botched. The left wing clipped the back side of the tour bus, tore the fiberglass roof then sent the plane spiraling. The plane severed the top of a pine tree and crashed into the garage of a nearby mansion, bursting into flames. Rhoads was killed instantly, as were Aycock, 36, and Youngblood, 58. All three bodies were burned beyond recognition, and were identified by dental records as well as Rhoads jewelry. It was later revealed in an autopsy that Aycock's system showed traces of cocaine at the time; Rhoads's toxicology test revealed only nicotine. The NTSB investigation also determined that Aycock's medical certificate had expired and that his biennial flight review, required for all pilots, was overdue.
Rhoads's funeral was held at the First Lutheran Church in Burbank, California. He is interred at Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino, California, where his grandparents are also buried.
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