Actually, I’m quite surprised that no one pointed this out when I posted my “Triumphs and Tragedies” post for 1982. While the death of John Belushi was certainly a tragic occurrence, for metalheads, the terrible loss of Randy Rhoads was a far bigger tragedy because on March 19, 1982, the world was robbed of a guitar god. That is why I felt that Rhoads’s death deserved its own post because for metalheads, his death overshadowed everything else in 1982 in the same way that John Lennon’s murder did for the world in 1980.
For any metalhead, it’s standard 101 to know that Randy Rhoads was killed in a plane crash on that tragic day in March, 1982 but it is only now that I have fully learned the full details behind the crash. The pilot had taken Randy and the band’s make up artist up in a small plane for a little bit of show boat flying. After making two successful attempts to fly close to the tour bus that was parked nearby, the pilot botched the third attempt, hitting the bus, severing the top of a pine tree before crashing into a garage of a nearby mansion. The contact with the bus forced Rhoads’s head to crash through the windscreen and then he was immediately incinerated when the plane exploded into a fireball after hitting the garage. While only God himself could have saved the three people in the plane, it still took over a half hour before the fire service arrived on the scene and then it was only one engine. This leads me to speculate two possible reasons for this. One was the fact that it was rural Florida and the local fire department would probably have been a volunteer one so there would have been a great delay in the response. The other, a result of me seeing anti- metal conspiracies all over the place, is the fact that the locals weren’t too bothered in responding quickly because it was a bunch of heavy metal people involved. In any case, heavy metal and the world lost a truly magnificent guitar player on that day.
Standard Metal knowledge 102 teaches that while Randy is no longer with us, his legacy will never die. From that fateful day, the tributes to Randy Rhodes and what he has done for music continue to pour in. His former band Quiet Riot dedicated a song to him on their next album and Ozzy Osbourne released a tribute album to Randy a few years after that and rest assured, I’ll be visiting both when the time comes. Young guitarists still study his guitar style and Jackson Guitars still sell a replica of the one he used to wow audiences with his playing. Randy might have only lived for 25 years (way too young) but his memory has lived on for the last 33 years and will go on forever. Here’s where I should urge everybody to go out and listen to some album where Randy appears. There’s really no need because I know that everybody reading this will have already done so in the recent past and will continue to do so well into the the future.
R.I.P. Randy Rhoads
Next post: Anvil- Metal on Metal
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