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Music

Ozzy Osbourne's favourite guitarist of his solo career

Ozzy Osbourne is one of the most iconic figures in rock music history, and his life has been as chaotic as you’d expect from a musician of his status. Full of soaring highs, crushing lows and everything in between, Osbourne has lived a life like no other, and the stories he regales when reflecting on his career often leave fans wondering if he’s of this earthly realm at all. 

It would be easy to spend hours focusing on the wilder stories from Osbourne’s life, which range from the notorious bat incident to urinating on The Alamo, but today we’re reflecting on a more peaceful approach as we hear Osbourne’s verdict on who he thinks is the best guitarist he ever played with across his solo career. The Prince of Darkness has been very fortunate, sharing the stage with some of the all-time greats, including Randy Rhoads and Zakk Wylde.

It was in 2019 when Osbourne disclosed who he believes to be the very best. The revelation came during an interview with his press representatives, SRO, when promoting his unprecedented boxset, See You On the Other Side, which featured 24 of his albums. Asked to name his favourite, Osbourne replied definitively. He said: “Well, Randy Rhoads was the best. If I had to say which one of the guitar players you’d rather work with, who was the most musically trained, it was Randy, because he could write, he could read, he could play, he taught at his mother’s school and he had patience with me. And he would work with me, as opposed to me having to work on top of what he put down. It was fun”.

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Ozzy lamented: “He got tragically killed, and I’ll never forget it as long as I live. That story, we all know now. But, I mean, he was only a young man. He was in his early twenties. It just doesn’t seem right… I’m 70 years of age and it’s so sad when you think the guy got killed so early”.

Explaining Rhoads’ refreshing technical ability, Osbourne recalled: “When I started working with Randy Rhoads, he was the first guy to go, ‘Maybe you should do it in this key.’ And I go, ‘Oh!’ He was the first guy to ever consider my opinion and give me a break. But I got an education working with Black Sabbath, it made it a little easier for me to work with other musicians. But with Randy, it was fun again”.

Ozzy’s account of Rhoads only increases the loss felt by his death. An incredible guitarist, who helped to revolutionise metal guitar-playing, it’s no coincidence that we hear his influence alive and well today in metal’s many different sub-genres. A genuine scholar of music, he understood the craft deeply, and it is this that gave Ozzy the magic he required to bounce back from the end of his Sabbath days and deliver the career-defining Blizzard of Ozz

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