Ozzy Osborne’s post-Sabbath debut, 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz, established him as a solo force to be reckoned with. But receiving almost as many accolades were the blistering guitar histrionics of Los Angeles phenom Randy Rhoads.
Osborne had recruited Rhoads from then-burgeoning L.A. rock act Quiet Riot. Rhoads’ writing efforts and guitar solos on ever-enduring tracks like “Crazy Train” combined forceful heavy metal flashiness with his own background in neo-classical guitar. The results remain some of the most memorable guitar solos in rock history.
Rhoads would play guitar on one more Ozzy Osborne release, 1981’s Diary of a Madman. Tragically, the promise of future guitar greatness ended in March 1982, when a plane crash claimed the life of the guitar prodigy at the age of 25. His relatively small amount of work remains heavily influential more than 30 years after his death.
On March 3, UDR Music pays its respects to the career of Randy Rhoads with the release of Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute. A covers collection of Rhoads-era Ozzy and Quiet Riot songs, the album features performances from those heavily influenced by his work, including System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian, guitarist Tom Morello, current Ozzy Osborne guitarist Gus G, and more. The entire collection was produced by noted hard rock producer Bob Kulick (KISS, Meat Loaf).
It is L.A. Weekly's pleasure to premiere the Immortal Randy Rhoads version of “Mr. Crowley,” one of the most haunting tracks on Osborne’s debut album. Paying tribute are Testament frontman Chuck Billy on vocals, Children of Bodom guitarist Alexi Laiho, Rhoads’ fellow Quiet Riot collaborator Rudy Sarzo on bass, metal drummer extraordinaire Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath/Dio), and Randy’s brother Kelle Rhoads on keyboards.
Billy’s gruff vocals lend an air of seriousness to this dark tale, while Laiho brings a little bit of his own trademark flair to the guitar work. Kelle Rhoads provides the synthesizer intro that sets the proper mood for this tale of the occult. All in all, it's a well-paid tribute to the fallen guitarist.
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Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, March 3. You can pre-order it from Amazon here.