On Monday (December 6th), rock music legend Ozzy Osbourne took to his social media accounts to wish his late friend and bandmate Randy Rhoads a special happy birthday. The guitarist would have been 65-years-old today.
“Happy Birthday Randy,” Ozzy Osbourne declared in the post, which featured him and Rhoads performing on stage together. “You Are Forever Missed.”
Randy Rhoads died in a plane crash while on tour with Ozzy Osbourne in Florida on March 19, 1982. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, the crash happened in Leesburg, Florida. Among the dead was Rhoads as well as the seamstress and cook for Osbourne’s band, Rachel Youngblood; and Andrew Aycock, the band’s bus driver who had an expired pilot’s license.
In a statement at the time, Ozzy Osbourne revealed that he was awoken from his sleep by a loud explosion and immediately thought the band had hit another vehicle on the road. “I got out of bed, screaming to my fiancee Sharon, ‘Get off the bus!’ After getting out of the bus, I saw that a plane had crashed. I didn’t who was on the plane at the time.”
An investigation revealed that the tragedy was caused by poor judgment. The report stated, “The pilot, who was a rock group driver, took an aircraft from the hangar without permission to joy ride members of the group.” The FAA also conducted toxicology tests on the plane’s occupants. It revealed that Rhoads had only nicotine in his system. Meanwhile, Aycock tested positive for trace amounts of cocaine.
Months after the plane crash, Ozzy Osbourne revealed his thoughts about Rhoads’ passing. “We had a great rapport together. We loved each other very dearly. The tragedy of my life is the day he died.”
Ozzy Osbourne Opens Up About How He and His Group Moved Forward After Randy Rhoads’ Death
During a November 2018 interview with Rolling Stone, Ozzy Osbourne spoke about Randy Rhoads’ sudden passing and how it impacted his group at the time. “To this day, as I’m talking to you now, I’m back in that field looking at this f—ing plane wreck and a house on fire. You never get over something like that. You’re in shock.”
Ozzy Osbourne also admitted that he told his wife Sharon, who was his manager at the time, that he just couldn’t do play anymore. “And she went, ‘If you f—ing quit now…’ It was a bad scene, man. She said, ‘We are not stopping now.’”
Ozzy Osbourne then spoke about how Sharon helped find a replacement for Rhoads quickly and the tour picked up again about a week and a half after the incident. Bernie Tormé, an Irish guitarist who previously played in Deep Purple sing Ian Gillan’s solo band, was selected to fill in for Rhoads.
“[Bernie] did as good a job as anybody, but he was getting people shouting ‘Bloody Randy’ at him,” Ozzy Osbourne revealed about the performances after Rhoads’ plane crash. “It was a fucking hard gig for him.”