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Randy California – Caught in the Riptide

Randy California

Randy California was the guitarist and centerpiece of the rock group Spirit, and his highly influential playing style has been hailed by musicians as diverse as Walter Becker and Jimi Hendrix — who gave the California-born Randy Craig Wolfe his stage name.

Among his many carer achievements, many rock historians credit Spirit’s “Taurus” as the impetus for Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway to Heaven.”

The guitarist drowned in the ocean at Molokai, Hawaii, on Jan. 2, 1997 while helping his 12-year-old son Quinn, who had gotten caught in a riptide. He managed to push his son to safety, but could not save himself.

Next: Death by Ham?

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