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How Randy Rhoads’ Death Affected Ozzy’s Albums for a Decade After

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In a new Rolling Stone interview, Ozzy Osbourne said of late Ozzy guitarist and influential shredder Randy Rhoads’ upcoming commendation, “Thank God that he’s getting recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

But that’s not all he shared about Randy. The rock mag got a good bit more conversation out of the “Prince of Darkness” regarding the guitar icon’s inclusion among the Rock Hall’s Class of 2021 — this October, Rhoads will posthumously receive the institution’s Musical Excellence Award. Osbourne had previously offered a short statement praising the development, but in the interview from Tuesday (May 18), Ozzy spoke more about the legendary rocker who died in 1982 after contributing to Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman.

The talk included Osbourne’s estimation that it took him three records after Rhoads’ death — from 1983’s Bark at the Moon through 1988’s No Rest for the Wicked — to find his way again in the studio, finally regaining momentum with No More Tears in 1991.

“I was kind of emotionally wounded after Randy died,” Osbourne relayed to writer Cory Grow. “It took me until No More Tears to get back on the right path with recording. He died really young, and he didn’t deserve to die. It’s really strange for me to sit here and reflect. Like, fucking hell, 40 years — it seems like it was yesterday.”

The singer also touched on some details of a tale familiar to longtime Ozzy fans — that of his last excursion with Rhoads as the band were on their way to play a festival in Orlando, Fla., and Osbourne’s final conversation with the guitarist. Rhoads’ last performance would end up being the previous night’s gig at Tennessee’s Knoxville Civic Coliseum.

“I must have a sixth sense or something, but I kind of knew that he wouldn’t make old bones,” Osbourne said. “Some people are just too good. He didn’t take drugs. He didn’t drink much. We [in the band] were all like pirates, and he would say to me, ‘Ozzy, you’re gonna kill yourself.'”

Osbourne added, “On the last journey we had together … I was on the bus, and he said to me, ‘I want to quit rock ‘n’ roll.’ I said, ‘You want what?’ He was the type of guy who would want to move on to something else once he experienced something. I said, ‘Are you joking?’ He said, ‘No. I want to get a degree at UCLA.’ I said, ‘Carry on the way you’re going, you’ll be able to buy UCLA.’ That was the last conversation I had with him. And 12 hours later he was dead. As I’m thinking about it now, my mind is running the tape in my head of that day. Every time I talk about it, I’m back there. It’s just one of the saddest parts of my life.”

Rhoads will gain the Musical Excellence distinction, first awarded specifically to musical sideman, alongside rapper LL Cool J and keyboardist Billy Preston. Foo Fighters, the Go-Go’s, Jay-Z, Carole King, Todd Rundgren and Tina Turner are the Rock Hall’s 2021 performer inductees. The induction ceremony happens on Oct. 30 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

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