Exclusive Premiere: Hear The Entire 'Immortal Randy Rhoads: The Ultimate Tribute' Album

Courtesy of UDR Music
Randy Rhoads

Tom Morello, Serj Tankian and more pay homage to the late Ozzy Osbourne guitarist.

March 19 will mark the 33rd anniversary of the death of Randy Rhoads, the guitar wunderkind whose talents helped Ozzy Osbourne establish his successful solo career. Sadly, the 25-year-old was killed in Leesburg, Fla., when he went on a morning joy ride in a Beechcraft Bonanza with tour bus driver Andrew Aycock, who was piloting the plane. After Aycock "buzzed" the Osbourne tour bus three times, the plane hit the bus, crashed into a tree and then into a home, causing an explosion. (Aycock and band crew member Rachel Youngblood also perished.)

Osbourne musically paid respect to Rhoads with Tribute, the live concert album that was released March 19, 1987. On March 3, another memorial pays homage to the beloved axeman. Immortal Randy Rhoads: The Ultimate Tribute (UDR Music) contains a roll call of stars covering tunes that Rhoads co-wrote either with Osbourne or Quiet Riot, the band he quit so he could partner with the Prince of Darkness. Tim "Ripper" Owens (Judas Priest, Iced Earth) sings most of the lyrics, with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Kelle Rhoads (Randy's brother) and Chuck Billy (Testament) also contributing vocals. Vinny Appice (Dio, Heaven and Hell), Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P.) and producer-arranger Brett Chassen provide drums. The guitarist lineup -- what many will say is the most important element -- includes Brad Gillis (Osbourne, Night Ranger), Dweezil Zappa (Zappa Plays Zappa), George Lynch (Lynch Mob, Dokken) and Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave). 

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Listen to Immortal Randy Rhoads: The Ultimate Tribute here:

The project is separate from Randy Rhoads Remembered Vol. 1, which Tish Tone Records released Jan. 23. It also features an all-star cast like Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Jeff Scott Soto (Jeff Scott Soto Band, Journey) and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (Guns N' Roses) performing songs Rhoads helped make famous like "Mr. Crowley" and "I Don't Know."

The one constant on all of the Immortal Randy Rhoads tracks is Rudy Sarzo, who handled all the bass per producer Bob Kulick's direction since he's the sole musician who performed with Rhoads with both Quiet Riot and Osbourne. "I had a wonderful time going down memory lane and revisiting all those wonderful songs," says Sarzo. "But what I find most special about this record is that not only are we celebrating Randy's Ozzy era legacy, but also his Quiet Riot legacy."

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Kulick is a veteran of tribute albums, having co-produced with Chassen such projects as Numbers From the Beast: An All Star Salute to Iron Maiden and the metal Frank Sinatra tribute Sin-Atra. He says of the new project, "Since [Rhoads] was a generation's guitar god like my guitar gods -- Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and George Harrison -- I felt that with the right guitarists, the CD would make a fitting tribute for an incredible guitarist, songwriter, performer and a really special person taken from all of us way too soon. It was my idea, and I approached UDR with my friend Todd Singerman, Motorhead's manager, and they agreed that it was a great, heartfelt idea."

Kulick decided to have Owens handle most of the vocals because he "didn't want the focus to be on the singers. But having said that, Ripper Owens is an incredible singer whose vocal talents added to the CD without distracting from it. Adding Serj, Chuck Billy and Randy's brother Kelle on the song he co-wrote with Randy, 'Back to the Coast,' was some additional icing on the cake."

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Sarzo and Kulick are both happy with how the squeal-filled "Crazy Train" came together. (Sarzo, Tankian, Morello and Appice perform it.) Kulick attributes its specialness to "that lineup and Morello's unbelievable solo. And he was the one who got Serj involved." The producer also explains that "S.A.T.O." and "Mr. Crowley" "really [have] a unique vibe with that combination of Chuck and Alexi [Laiho, Children of Bodom], etc., and I also love what Joel Hoekstra (Night Ranger, Whitesnake) did to 'Killer Girls.' He made it into the guitar orchestra."

Osbourne's current guitarist, Gus G (Firewind), played on "Goodbye to Romance" due to his connection with Osbourne and the song being one of his favorites. His solo livens up the low-key ballad, which is more fervid than the original. Gus G attributes the new direction to Kulick. "He encouraged me to do my version of it. So while I kept some of the original melodies, I added some of my own kicks."

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As a person who's helping carry on what Rhoads created with Osbourne, Gus G calls it "the biggest honor a heavy metal guitar player can ever have. I'm a lucky bastard to be in that position, but I take pride in carrying the torch and legacy of Randy Rhoads, just like the players that were there before me in Ozzy's band. You can never replace a guitarist like Randy. You can only be yourself and play those songs with the outmost respect and love, as a fan."

Asked how he thinks Rhoads would feel about the album and how people have kept him close to their hearts all these years, Sarzo says, "I'm certain that he would be humbled and appreciative that musicians, especially the stellar guitarists on this record, would take the time out of their successful and busy lives to pay homage and celebrate his music. I believe he would have been knocked [out] by the inspired renditions from these artists, most of whom he has inspired."

Immortal Randy Rhoads: The Ultimate Tribute: Complete track and performer listing below:

1. "Crazy Train"

Vocals: Serj Tankian
Guitars: Tom Morello
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Vinny Appice
 
2. "Over the Mountain"

Vocals: Tim "Ripper" Owens
Guitars: Jon Donais
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Frankie Banali
 
3. "Mr. Crowley"

Vocals: Chuck Billy
Guitars: Alexi Laiho
Keyboards: Kelle Rhoads
Bass Rudy: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Vinny Appice
 
4. "Believer"

Vocals: Tim "Ripper" Owens
Guitars: Doug Aldrich
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Vinny Appice
 
5. "Back to the Coast" (Quiet Riot)

Vocals: Kelle Rhoads
Guitars: Bruce Kulick
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Frankie Banali
 
6. "I Don't Know"

Vocals: Tim "Ripper" Owens
Guitars: George Lynch
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Brett Chassen
 
7. "S.A.T.O."

Vocals: Tim "Ripper" Owens
Rhythm guitars: Bob Kulick
Lead guitar: Dweezil Zappa
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Vinny Appice
 
8. "Killer Girls" (Quiet Riot)

Vocals: Tim "Ripper" Owens
Guitars: Joel Hoekstra
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Brett Chassen
 
9. "Goodbye to Romance"

Vocals: Tim "Ripper" Owens
Guitars: Gus G.
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Brett Chassen
 
10. "Suicide Solution"

Vocals: Tim "Ripper" Owens
Guitars: Brad Gillis
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Brett Chassen
 
11. "Flying High Again"

Vocals: Tim "Ripper" Owens
Guitars: Bernie Torme
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Brett Chassen