Ozzy Osbourne faced a career crisis in 1979, when he was fired from Black Sabbath and replaced with Ronnie James Dio. But rather than ride the pre-VH1 train into drug-obsessed oblivion, Osbourne doubled down, teaming with guitarist Randy Rhoads to release the landmark Blizzard of Ozz album in 1980. Selling over 6 million copies, the record was a smash – due in no small part to the momentum of blazing single “Crazy Train.”
Fast forward a few years, to when a teenager named Tom Morello would study Randy Rhoads’ riffs endlessly while learning guitar. Morello, who would later be known for his work in Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, repeatedly called Rhoads his favorite guitar player of all time.
Now Morello is paying full tribute to the legendary axeman, who died in 1982, on a compilation called Immortal Randy Rhoads: The Ultimate Tribute. Eyeing a March release, the comp is a collaborative effort between Morello and System of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian, who have come together to record a cover album of songs cowritten by Randy Rhoads from his time with Osbourne and his earlier years with Quiet Riot.
Unfortunately, aside from some seriously holy-shit guitar work, the first taste of the album is a bitter one. With a gratingly prominent vocal mix entirely separate from the instrumentation, the duo’s rendition of “Crazy Train” is nerve-rattling at best.
Check out “Crazy Train,” featuring a killer solo from Morello starting at 2:43: