Late guitarist Randy Rhoads received the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Musical Excellence Award during the 2021 induction ceremony. The award is given to “artists, musicians, songwriters and producers whose originality and influence creating music have had a dramatic impact on music,” according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s website.
Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello inducted Rhoads via a video message. He spoke fondly of the Ozzy Osbourne collaborator and noted that he even named his son after him.
“Randy Rhoads is a peerless talent,” he says. “He revived Ozzy Osbourne’s career as his gunslinger sideman. And it was Randy Rhoads’ poster that I had on my wall. … You could study Randy’s songs in a university-level musicology class and bang your heads to them in a 7-11 parking lot.”
Others also offered their praises for Rhoads through video, including Osbourne, Steve Vai and Zakk Wylde. Metallica’s Kirk Hammett noted how he copies some of Rhoads’ solos on his own band’s records. “Randy’s guitar sound was giant,” he says.
“I’m so happy that Randy’s genius, which we all saw from the beginning, is finally being recognized and that he is getting his due,” Osbourne told Sal Cirrincione of Premiere Radio Networks after Rhoads’ Rock Hall inclusion was announced. “I only wish he was here in person to get this award and that we could all celebrate together. It’s really great that Randy’s family, friends and fans get to see him honored this way.”
Osbourne also told Rolling Stone, “I knew him for a very short amount of time. But what he gave me in that short amount of time was immeasurable in fucking greatness. To get somebody like [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 fucking crime.”
“Thank God that he’s getting recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He finally got there in the end. I’m sad that his mother was not alive to see it, because he was very close to his mom. I know his brother, Kelle, and his sister, Kathy, are going to be really chuffed about it. It shows that he’s not been forgotten. He was a dedicated, true musician, and he was a lovely guy. I still think about him all the time.”
Rhoads started his career as a member of Quiet Riot. He released two albums with the band before leaving in 1979. The group broke up for two years shortly after his departure. Singer Kevin DuBrow later said his leaving “didn’t derail the band, it ended it.”
He then auditioned for Osbourne’s solo band later that year. “Even in my drunken, stoned-out stupor, I go, ‘This is fucking one of the best things I’ve ever heard in my life, or these drugs are really good!'” Osbourne recalled years later.
Rhoads’ life and career were tragically cut short when he died in a plane crash on March 19, 1982. He was 25.
Rhoads’ sister, Kathy Rhoads D’Argenzio, posted footage and photos of her visit to the Rock Hall and the Randy tributes she witnessed, on Instagram, as seen below.
You can watch the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Nov. 20 on HBO. There will also be a radio simulcast on SiriusXM’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Radio.