The Tragic Details Of Randy Rhoads’ Plane Crash, Ozzy Osbourne’s Bassist Shares
During his appearance on WDHA’s Reconnect With Rockers, Ozzy Osbourne’s legendary bassist Rudy Sarzo has recalled the night in which the legendary guitarist Randy Rhoads died in a plane crash.
As you may know, Rudy Sarzo was recommended by Rady Rhoads to play on Osbourne’s band and recruited after that. During the period between March 1981 and September 1982, he rose to fame as the Osbourne bassist apart from his career in Quiet Riot, the band in which he also played with Rhoads. After the tragic death of Rhoads and also considering Osbourne’s heavy drinking habit, Sarzo questioned his place in Osbourne’s band and started focusing on his former band Quiet Riot for their upcoming album ‘Mental Health,’ recorded the song ‘Thunderbird’ as a tribute to Rhoads. Sarzo started to distance himself slowly from Osbourne’s band and ended up recording most of the songs on ‘Mental Health,’ deciding to rejoin Quiet Riot after The Diary Of A Madman tour had completely concluded.
Since the fateful plane crash that ended the life of Randy Rhoads, Sarzo had a hard time continuing without him. It is said that Rhoads also wanted Sarzo to be with him on the plane as he was afraid of flying, but Sarzo chose not to come and sleep instead. Being a first-person witness to the tragedy, it is no surprise that Sarzo was very distraught and moved by the incident.
What Happened On The Day Of The Tragic Plane Crash?
The incident happened in Leesburg, Florida on March 19, 1982, in a 1955 Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft. Rachel Youngblood, the make-up artist, and Andrew Aycock the bus driver were also deceased in the crash.
On the day the plane crash had happened, the Osbourne team was in Leesburg, stopped because of a broken air conditioning unit on the bus. Ozzy was sleeping while Aycock took the plane for a joyride without permission. On the first flight, he took keyboardist Don Airey and tour manager Jake Duncan aboard and tried to wake drummer Tommy Aldridge by flying too close to the bus. On the second flight, Aycock took Rhoads and Youngblood. Don Airey persuaded Rhoads to board the plane as Rhoads was afraid of flying, but he accepted as he wanted to take pictures in the sky for his mother. It is known that Airey had to undergo years of therapy as he blamed himself for it as he persuaded him. Rhoads also wanted Rudy to be on his side, but Rudy was too sleepy to do so, so he chose to sleep instead.
On the second flight, while he was trying to buzz the bus, Aycock failed the attempt as one of the wings of the plane clipped on top of the bus and it broke the wing. Aycock lost control of the plane, it went spiraling and the impact made Rhoads and Rachel’s heads crash to the windshield. The plane then crashed into the garage of a mansion, immediately burning out in flames. All three of them were burnt after the crash to the extent of being burned beyond recognition. Rhoads was identified with only the help of his jewelry and dental records.
As he was trying to take pictures of the plane to give out to Randy, Don Airey, the only person who witnessed the crash said that he quickly crouched to avoid being hit, and saw the plane fall and crash, burning on impact.
The Impact Of The Plane Crash On Rudy Sarzo
After the plane crash, Sarzo is known to left Osbourne’s side as he felt it was too painful for him to perform without Rhoads each night. He thought there was no time to mourn as they continued to perform after the incident, and felt it was incredibly painful to do so. After being asked about the crash he told WDHA that he felt multi-level hopelessness, and recalled the tragic event again. He said that as they were sleeping, they only heard the plane hit the bus and thought it was a road accident. When they opened the doors, he said that everything was revealed with the blown windows and shattered glasses. He recalls the tour manager pulling his hair and crying frantically, saying ‘They are gone!’, and the bus driver’s wife standing frozen in the doorway. He added that they found out what happened as soon as they saw the house and garage on fire.
He then touchingly added what he felt about the crash, saying:
“Once we find out that Randy and Rachel, and the bus driver had… that’s the plane that crashed, that’s hopelessness. And hopelessness has a sound. It’s a very low frequency, and it’s very ominous. My vocal cords can’t go that low, it’s this ominous vibration, and I couldn’t hear anything. My senses were in shock, all I heard was this inside my head, this low frequency – that’s hopelessness. I have never felt any deeper hopelessness than that, and I hope that I never experience it ever again.”
You can watch the interview below.