With his towering influence still felt today by both guitarists and fans alike, it’s hard to believe that 30 years have passed since the music world tragically lost guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads, who perished in a plane crash when he was just 25 years old, on March 19, 1982.

Rhoads may be most remembered for his work writing and recording with Ozzy Osbourne on 1980’s ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ and 1981’s ‘Diary of a Madman.' And the photo above, taken in 1980 at Ridge Farm Studio in England during recording sessions for ‘Blizzard of Ozz,' is a sad reminder of all the wonderful music fans never got to hear because we lost a rare talent far too soon.

The guitarist got his start in rock music by forming the band Quiet Riot when he was only 16, and after becoming a regular on the L.A. club scene, he landed a 1979 audition with Osbourne, who hired him on the spot and later described his first encounter with Rhoads as akin to “God entering my life.”

Fusing classical elements with rock techniques and his own ingenuity, Rhoads created some of the genre’s most memorable riffs. In fact, his wizardry on ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ is largely credited for the album’s success, with the solos from ‘Crazy Train’ and ‘Mr. Crowley’ still showing up on many "greatest guitar solo" compilations to this very day.

Former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist and Rhoads fan Zakk Wylde summed it up best: “The testimony to Randy's greatness is the fact that we all still remember ... He did on two albums what most guys can't do on 20. That's pretty remarkable.”

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello recently weighed in on Rhoads' timeless legacy as well.

“[His] solos ... along with his rhythm playing ... [distanced] himself from everybody. He combines technique –- which doesn't really matter at all –- with a tremendous sense of melody and harmony," Morello said. "Those things can only get you so far, too, but he had so much passion and feeling, yet he would still play these ripping solos and take your head off.”

According to most accounts, Rhoads was a shy spirit and not all that comfortable in the limelight. Even during his success, Rhoads continued to be a student of music, seeking out classical guitar lessons wherever he went in pursuit of improvement. He also gave back to the music community by teaching guitar, something he reportedly felt most comfortable doing. Friends have even speculated that before his death, Rhoads was considering trading in his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle to teach full time.

While his life was definitely cut way short, today we remember the life and the legacy of Randy Rhoads. Whether your jam is ‘Crazy Train,’ ‘Flying High Again,’ or the softer styling of ‘Goodbye to Romance,’ crank it loud, rock some air guitar -- or check out some of his great videos -- and think of Randy.

Watch Ozzy Osbourne Listening to a Lost Randy Rhoads Solo

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