Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads are two of the most influential axman in rock history, and although they came up in the same L.A. scene in the mid-Seventies, it's been well-documented that the two virtuosos weren't too fond of one another. In fact, according to Ozzy Osbourne, Rhoads — whose muscular shredding set the musical foundation for Ozzy's solo career — "didn't have a nice thing to say" about the Van Halen guitarist in the time leading up to his tragic death in 1982.
The long-ago beef was addressed in a new interview with Rolling Stone, where Osbourne brought up a passage of the new documentary, Randy Rhoads: Reflections Of A Guitar Icon, that featured archived footage of Eddie Van Halen (who died in 2020) downplaying Rhoads' guitar abilities and influence.
"He was one guitarist who was honest, anyway. Because he said everything he did he learned from me," Van Halen said in the documentary, as transcribed by Blabbermouth. "He was good, but I don't really think he did anything that I haven't done. And there ain't nothing wrong with it. I've copied some other people, you know?"
Osbourne disputes this claim that his late guitarist was just copying off of Van Halen, whose career got a jumpstart when Van Halen got a major record deal years before Rhoads' pre-Ozzy band, Quiet Riot, gained a national following.
"I heard recently that Eddie said he taught Randy all his licks … he never," Osbourne told Rolling Stone. "To be honest, Randy didn't have a nice thing to say about Eddie. Maybe they had a falling out or whatever, but they were rivals."
Shots fired. Unfortunately, we'll never know what Rhoads and Van Halen would've thought about each other if the "Crazy Train" riff-writer didn't die so young. Maybe they would've reconciled, or maybe they would've thrown barbs at each other until the bitter end.