Rudy Sarzo Recalls How Ozzy Osbourne Was Affected By Randy Rhoads’ Passing

Rudy Sarzo, who was famously a member of Ozzy Osbourne’s band back in the early 1980s, recalled how the famous singer was affected by the tragic passing of Randy Rhoads. Sarzo, who played with Ozzy when the tragic 1982 plane crash that took Randy’s life happened, spoke to Cassius Morris in an interview recently, recalling how the aftermaths impacted the former Black Sabbath singer.

Sarzo touched upon this while discussing Ozzy’s infamous wild side during that era. When asked whether the singer was as wild in person as he was known publicly, he replied (transcript via Ultimate Guitar):

“While I was there, Ozzy got to a point where he was really hurting, emotionally. So, Sharon gave him a little bit more rope, so he could drink a little bit more… allowing him to kill the pain.”

Ozzy Osbourne - Over the Mountain (Live - Albuquerque, NM Jan 7, 1982)

And there were, of course, those odd crazy stories about him hanging out with Mötley Crüe guys. Sarzo continued:

“After I left, that’s when you hear all the crazy stories of touring with Mötley Crüe, snorting the ants and all that stuff…”

However, there was his wife and manager Sharon Osbourne who did her best to control Ozzy:

“But I wasn’t there for that. He was controllable [when I was with the band]; Sharon made sure that there was not a whole lot of booze, if any, on the tour bus.”

Ozzy Osbourne with Randy Rhoads - Mr Crowley - 1982

However, Sharon’s approach to Ozzy changed after Randy Rhoad’s passing on March 19, 1982. While she still kept an eye on him, Sharon allowed Ozzy to numb his pain. Sarzo recalled:

“She was basically doing an intervention every single day, and then, after Randy died, it was like, [raises both hands], ‘Okay, go for it.’ But she always kept an eye on him, making sure he would not go off the deep end.”

During the interview, Sarzo was also asked about Ozzy Osbourne’s relationship with Rhoads to which he replied:

“Ozzy was really in awe of his musicianship and his commitment. Randy was authentic; there was nothing really derivative [about him]. He wasn’t trying to be anybody else but himself.”

Ozzy Osbourne on Letterman, March 25, 1982

Randy Rhoads’ death happened while Ozzy Osbourne was on tour in support of his second solo album, 1981’s “Diary of a Madman.” On the morning of March 19, 1982, Ozzy and his band stopped at Flying Baron Estates in Leesburg, Florida to fix a minor issue on the tour bus. On the property, there were a few smaller sports planes and the bus driver Andrew Aycock, who was also a private pilot, decided to go for a ride without permission.

The first flight was with then Ozzy’s keyboardist Don Airey and the band’s touring manager Jake Duncan. For the second flight, Aycock took Randy Rhoads and the band’s makeup artist Rachel Youngblood. At around 10 AM, while Aycock was trying to fly close to the bus where the band members were sleeping. While flying too close, the pilot clipped the tour bus, ultimately damaging the wing and crashing the aircraft, resulting in the deaths of everyone onboard.

Ozzy Listening to Lost Randy Rhoads Solo

Randy Rhoads’ final show took place the night before, on March 18, 1982, in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was only 25 years old at the time of his passing.

Last year, bassist Bob Daisley, who was a member of Ozzy’s band before Rudy Sarzo joined, also reflected on Randy’s passing and how he found out about it. Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake, who were in the band for the 1981 album “Diary of a Madman” but parted ways with Osbourne, were getting ready to play a gig with Uriah Heep when they heard the dire news:

“We were going to be playing at a big club in Houston called Cardi’s…The day we flew in was a night off, so we said, ‘Well, we’ll go down to Cardi’s and just have a look…’ And as we were walking in, the girl at the door said, ‘Oh, you guys were with Ozzy, weren’t you? I think a few of them got killed this morning. There was a plane crash.'”

OZZY OSBOURNE - "Mr. Crowley" 1981 (Live Video)

“I had thought of maybe them being on some sort of commercial flight or something. And she said, ‘I don’t know much about it, just happened this morning, but if you go in and ask the DJ in the club, he knows about it.'”

“So I went in, and Lee kept on walking and went and got a drink… And when I went to the DJ, he told me it was Rachel, who was the seamstress, sort of wardrobe lady, the pilot, and Randy, the three of them were killed in this small plane.”

“And, oh man, it just blew me away. I went and sat next to Lee and I was speechless. He turned around, he said, ‘God, what’s wrong with you? You’ve gone all pale.’ And that’s when I told him, I said, ‘Randy got killed this morning.’ We didn’t know the other two… Lee and I went back to our hotel, and we just sat in the bar, drank ourselves silly, and cried and cried, because it was just awful.”

Ozzy Osbourne - Randy Rhoads Last Recorded Concert - El Pasa, TX, United States - 23rd February 1982

Photos: Egghead06 (Ozzy Farewell 2017), Unknown (Randy Rhoads)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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