A tribute to Randy Rhoads

Alaster Bowles, Reporter

Rated number 15 on Rolling Stone’s ‘The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time’, Diary of a Madman is a well-known metal album written by Ozzy Osbourne in 1981 and was released on Nov. 7 of that same year. 

Diary of a Madman was Osbourne’s second solo album after being cut from the band Black Sabbath, his first being Blizzard of Ozz which features the hit “Crazy Train”.

After leaving Black Sabbath, Osbourne came to America to restart his music career as a solo artist. In Los Angeles, he found metal guitarist Randy Rhoads, who was playing with the smaller metal group Quiet Riot at the time. 

With Rhoads on the guitar, Bob Daisley on bass, Lee Kerslake playing drums and Ozzy Osbourne as the front man, the group gained popularity quite quickly. 

In 1981 the group made their way to Rusper, England, to begin work on Diary of a Madman. This would end up being the final album Rhoads, Daisley and Kerslake recorded with Ozzy Osbourne.

The album contains eight tracks: “Over the Mountain”,”Believer”, “S.A.T.O.”, “Flying High Again”, “Little Dolls”, “Diary of a Madman”, “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll”, and “Tonight”.  The 43-minute album sold 3 million copies.

This album was the last of two recorded with Osbourne before Rhoads’s tragic death in a plane crash on March 19, 1982.

After the album’s release, Osbourne fired Daisley and Kerslake because they didn’t work well with him. They were replaced with Tommy Aldridge and Rudy Sarzo, a former bandmate and friend of Rhoads from Quiet Riot.

Randy was an incredibly creative human being,” Sarzo recalls. “He challenged himself every time. And I saw that. I mean, what you hear on the records, by the time that he was on stage performing, it was like beyond what he had done in that moment.”

Rhoads was described as being very hard working when it came to music, having taken lessons throughout his entire life and career.

I remember he worked especially hard on the solo to the song ‘Diary of a Madman’,” Osbourne says. “He went in there on a Thursday or Friday night, and he spent the whole weekend there. He lived in the studio for, like, two days. Then on the Sunday, he came out with a big grin and he said, ‘I think I’ve got it.’ He was so happy with that solo.”

Osbourne has written many more albums since the passing of Rhoads but none were as popular as the two Rhoads contributed his guitar skills to.

“To get somebody like Randy Rhoads to play on two albums, and for those two albums to sound as good as the day they were recorded, is something else. And I’m forever in gratitude for that. God only knows where that man would be today. The very fact that he’s not here to breathe the air is just a f****** crime,” said Ozzy.