Delores Rhoads, mother of Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads, died on November 11 at the age of 95.
She was immortalized by her son with the classical guitar interlude “Dee,” his nickname for her. That cut, which appeared on Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz album, can be heard below.
Her death was noted by Osbourne, who tweeted, “I am deeply saddened to hear of Mrs Rhoads passing. She was a wonderful woman and will be missed. I have no doubt she is reunited with Randy.”
Her death was also acknowledged by bassist Rudy Sarzo, who performed with Rhoads in Quiet Riot before the guitarist moved on to play with Osbourne.
“The world today has lost one of the most gracious and sweetest ladies I’m blessed to have known, Delores Rhoads,” Sarzo wrote on his Facebook page. “Please keep her and the Rhoads family in your prayers.”
Tributes followed from Tom Morello and Seymour Duncan.
A musician from an early age, Delores founded the Musonia School of Music in North Hollywood, California, in 1949. Randy began taking lessons there at the age of six and a half after receiving his first guitar.
“Randy grew up musically in my school,” Delores said. “I am sure he was influenced by this in many ways. He started when he was so young. He was somewhere between six-and-a-half and seven when he started lessons. In those days, way back then, we started them with the folk guitar where they learned the chords and a few pop songs.”
But under her direction, Rhoads also received a full music education.
“To play in my little group that I had even way back then, he had to read [music],” she said. “Because he couldn’t play in the group unless he read. And then I worked with him when he was very young. I gave him some piano lessons, so he had to learn to read. I always make my students count very accurately and read properly and do everything the right way, so he had some help in that.”
That training was evident in Rhoads’ playing which ran the gamut from metal shredding to classical-style virtuosity.
Delores Rhoads’ own music education began as a child, when she took up the cornet. Her father, a doctor, accepted the instrument in lieu of payment from a patient during the Great Depression. Delores took lessons from Herbert Lincoln Clarke, who was first cornetist for brass band “March King” John Philip Sousa, ensuring she received some of the finest tutelage available.
“She plays 15 instruments,” her son Kelle once said. “Her main instruments were trumpet and cornet. She primarily excelled in brass.”
Kelle added that Delores made a lasting impact for women musicians while she was a music student at UCLA.
“A woman couldn’t sit first-chair in the brass section. Until my mom,” he said.
“My mom challenged this because she was so much better than the guys. So they had a little contest, she smoked them, and she was the very first woman that got to sit first-chair in a brass section.”
Guitar Player extends its sympathies to the Rhoads family.