"I’ve had some great guitar players over the years, there’s no disputing that. But Randy was unique. It’s like Randy was with me for a lot longer than he actually really was. Sometimes I think he’s still with me now. Guitar players have a thing where their guitars are an extension of their penis. With Randy, he was an extension of his guitar. There’s a big difference.”
These are the words of John Michael Osbourne, a man who we all know simply as the metal world’s front man OZZY OSBOURNE. In 1979, Ozzy took his leave from the famous British metal band Black Sabbath, and searched out a new solo career. He started off looking for a new guitarist. Ozzy tried out many people, but was never completely satisfied. Then, at a recommendation from a friend, he let this man known as Randy Rhoads show off his skills. Randy was a previous member of Quiet Riot
and an accomplished classical guitarist. Ozzy took him into the band, and not long after, they were best friends.
Fast forward 3 years, Ozzy and Randy have written two extremely successful albums, The Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. On the Diary of a Madman tour, Randy, along with the band’s hairdresser Rachel Youngblood, found they had some time on their hands as Ozzy was sleeping off a gin-induced hangover. They got on a small jet plane, piloted by Andrew Aycock, and made a few trick dives towards the tour bus just for sh*ts and giggles. On one dive, the pilot (who had a much expired pilot’s license) hit the wing of the plane on the side of the tour bus. The plane crashed into the ground, skidded into a house, and erupted into flames. The date was March 19th, 1982.
I could go on about the horrific events of that day, but that’s not the purpose of my review. But all of the above lead up to the release of this terrific album. Ozzy, Sharon, and Delores Rhoads (Randy’s mother) finally believed it was time to release this album in tribute to not only one of the greatest guitar players in history, but to a best friend. A lot of emotion was put into the release of this. Tribute
is one of the best albums I have ever listened to, and has influenced my guitar playing more than any recording I have ever heard.
This is a live album, recorded May 11th, 1981, from a concert in Cleveland, Ohio. The last song, Dee, is a studio outtake. On with the review:
I Don’t Know
- Great song. Starts off with the fans roaring, and then gothic voices and harmonic chanting out of the speakers. Then the crowd goes nuts, and you hear Ozzy scream “Are you ready to rock n’ roll!?” The crowd goes on as the chanting calms down and Randy explodes with the opening riff. You know as soon as Ozzy starts singing that his voice is, and will stay, phenomenal. A basic Randy solo a little after the interlude of the song, nothing special by his standards. Very good song. 4/5
- The classic song everyone knows. The studio version is actually a lot better than this one, in my opinion. You get a great vibe from the song, everything from the intro solo, the infamous beginning riff, and great fills. It’s all great until you get to the solo, which I hate to admit but is played rather poor. He taps very slowly in the middle part of it, and throws off the solo. Still, this is a great song and definitely one you don’t want to skip over on this album. 4/5
- This song has grown on me quite a bit. Starts off with a spooky bass line and screeching harmonics from Randy. The main riff is pretty catchy, Ozzy’s vocals do not disappoint. The song has a nice change of pace 2:35 into the song and keeps you from boredom. Then a breakdown, and right into the crazy solo. Randy makes no mistakes and plays very well in this song. 4/5
- As good as the first three songs of this album were, they were the low point of the album. The crowd cheers, and then you hear that riff
. It’s the legendary Mr. Crowley
, and the crowd goes absolutely nuts. This song is one of the main highlights of the album, and is much better than the already-phenomenal studio version. Starts off with the eerie keyboards and Randy playing the slow intro, and then explodes into the main riff. Randy is throwing in fills all over the place and doing a great job. If you aren’t already impressed with the great vocals and riffs on this song, wait until the first solo. Randy shreds away, making minor but great sounding changes in the solo and hits everything perfectly. The main riffs continue after, then a sudden change of pace. Even if you’ve never heard this song in your life, you can still tell from the great dynamics of this part of the song that something is definitely coming up. The second solo comes in with Randy tapping away, blowing away the original version of this song. If I could give this song anything higher than a 5/5 I would. 5/5
Flying High Again
- Once again, another perfect song. It starts off with Ozzy saying “We’re gonna do another number now, its called Flyin’ High Again
for you people smokin’ dem joints!” Ozzy is right on target with his vocals (I’m going to stop commenting his vocals, because they’re great throughout the entire album!). Very catchy riff, and lyrics about getting high and hallucinating off of smoking joints. You hear Ozzy scream to the crowd “Come on and join me!” and Randy plays another of his best solos. You can hear his classical influence in this solo (like most of his). This is another song you just can’t get enough of. 5/5
Revelation (Mother Earth)
- Great song, it gets better as it goes. It starts off with a slow, clean riff. The whole atmosphere of the song captures you in a sense of sweetness and eeriness at the same time. The song grows a little more intense as it progresses, up until the spooky breakdown that grows up to a climax before it settles down to another slower cleaner riff, similar to the progression of Mr. Crowley’s
clean section. A nice piano accompanies the clean section of this song - then its like BAM you’re into the breakdown that leads into an awesome solo (couldn’t describe it better than using the phrase “BAM”). Randy’s playing throughout the ending of the song is just phenomenal. 4.5/5
Steal Away (The Night) (With Drum Solo)
- Awesome rock n’ roll song. It’s got a really catchy main riff that keeps your attention throughout the entire song through the solo. Now, I’ve spent a ton of this review talking about Ozzy’s amazing vocals and Randy’s playing, and I hardly touch on the other members of the band. Though Ozzy and Randy really make the greatness of this album, this song belongs to Tommy Aldridge, their drummer. At about 3:20, Tommy takes off in a crazy solo. I’m not comparing this guy to guys like Mike Portnoy or Neil Peart, but Tommy really gets the job done with this solo. He’s not just hitting random stuff on his drum set, you can catch the crazy but awesome pattern of intense drumming he’s playing. The only bad part is the drum solo carries on way too long, despite how good it is (about 5:41). Despite sitting through the long drum solo, this is still an amazing song. 5/5
- I was never a huge fan of this song, I always considered it a 4/5 though. They play through the song normally, but Randy interrupts the song (just like Tommy Aldridge in Steal Away The Night) and plays one of the greatest guitar solos I have ever heard. The classical influence is very noticeable, and one can only sit there with their mouth wide open in awe after listening to it all the way through. It’s similar in structure to Eruption
by Van Halen. Randy uses everything he has in this solo, and keeps the crowd in utter amazement. It’s the only reason I listen to this song, I have to admit. Another highlight of the album. 5/5
- One of three Black Sabbath covers, this is the shortest song on the album, being at 2:50. Very basic main riff, though very catchy with a few fills here and there. But Randy covers this highly regarded song with perfection… you gotta love it. 4.5/5
Children of the Grave
- The second Black Sabbath cover, off of the album Master of Reality. Randy attacks the listener with the intense riffs, playing it better than Iommi ever could. Awesome song overall, Randy really does show off how awesome he is compared to Iommi. No offense to Tony, but Randy really made this song his own. 5/5
- Another highlight off of the album. I could never get enough of the studio version of this song, but this version blows that out of the water. Randy completely changes the solo and makes the song more intense. Randy took a classic metal song and made it his own masterpiece. Easily a 5/5
Goodbye to Romance
- Ah yes, Ozzy-s ballad off of The Blizzard of Ozz. Perfect playing by everyone in the band, especially the smooth, beautiful playing of Randy. You really just feel like whipping out your bic and holding up a flame to this classic. You can feel Randy putting his whole heart into the solo. Almost brings a tear to my eye. 5/5
No Bone Movies
- Great way to end the album (the concert part of the album). This is the kind of song where you just want to get up and shout the chorus with Ozzy and then play some air guitar to the solo. As the song ends, the crowd cheers as Randy plays a final lightning fast outro solo, ending the concert on a perfect note. 5/5
- This isn’t a song that you listen to for fun, like the rest off this album. This song shows Randy’s classical ability and some dialogue between him and the recorder Max Norman (thanks Potartoe). It’s basically Randy screwing around in the studio with this song, though you do hear the entire thing played out once. Overall, this song is a reminder of why this album was made; it was made in remembrance of a best friend. The middle section of this song where you actually hear Dee played is fantastic. Again, this song isn’t quite for enjoyment as it is a memento, though I absolutely love the actual performance of “Dee” on here. 3.5/5
This entire album is a definite recommendation for fans of any form of rock or metal. It gives you a taste of the true greatness of Randy Rhoads, one of the greatest guitarists to ever live. This one man changed the face of rock n’ roll in only 3 years with Ozzy. This is the perfect album to start off a liking of metal with. In my opinion, every rock fan in the world should own this. Too bad I’m not world dictator though, but if you read this far I highly recommend a listen.
- Randy’s Suicide Solution solo, along with most of his solos, is phenomenal
- Ozzy’s vocals are perfect, not a single wrong note
- Changes in Black Sabbath covers sound much better
- Crowd is never annoying, but make you feel like you’re there
- Solo in Crazy Train is mediocre by Randy’s standards
- Drum solo does drag on, despite how good it is.
- Ummm not much else, I think this album has nothing that bad about it.
My first review, let me know how it was as a whole.