1.8 The 1980's
The 1980’s decade of excess kicked off in fine style when ex-Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne released Blizzard Of Ozz, with guitar playing duties (and much of the song writing) handled by Los Angeles native Randy Rhoads. Rhoads was a lynchpin of the nascent LA rock guitar scene that also spawned George Lynch, Warren DeMartini, Jake E Lee, and many others who found fame in the 1980’s hard rock explosion. Rhoads was very much in the Van Halen mould, with tapping, dive bombs, harmonic manipulation and rapid fire pentatonic phrases all present, but brought to the table a more European classically influenced approach to his playing utilising the natural and harmonic minor vocabulary that Blackmore and Roth had introduced to rock and metal in the 70’s. His career was tragically curtailed by his death in 1982, but his playing influence remains to this day. ‘Mr Crowley’ and ‘Revelation (Mother Earth)’ from the aforementioned ‘Blizzard Of Ozz’ - as well as the master class in classical exoticism that is the title track of 1981’s ‘Diary Of A Madman’ - are essential listening.