Ozzy Osbourne has always thrived in the face of adversity. After his bitter split with Black Sabbath in 1979, he started anew as a solo artist with help from a flamboyant six-string virtuoso named Randy Rhoads, who had sharpened his chops with Quiet Riot. Together, they crafted Ozzy classics like "Crazy Train," "Mr. Crowley," and "Over the Mountain." Then a freak plane accident took the guitarist's life.
"I have a lot of fond memories of Randy," Osbourne recalls. "He lived with me for a while. We had an apartment together in London. And I always was out of my mind shitfaced and passed out somewhere. I came around one time and I heard Randy, he was having a lesson in this room with me. A classical lesson. And I come around and I heard, [sings notes]. I said, 'That's next.' 'What?' 'Remember that.' And it became 'Diary of a Madman,' the song.
"I'll tell you a bit about that song," he continues. "I remember it like it was yesterday. Randy comes to me, 'Oh, man. I'm not happy with the guitars.' So I said, 'I'll tell you what, Randy, go in and come out when you're happy. Spend as much time as you want on it.' So he's in there for a couple of days, and one day he comes out and he's got this big shit-eating grin on this face, and he goes, 'I think I've got it.' And my hair on the back of my fucking neck stood up. Back then, it was all fun."
But the fun wasn't just restricted to songwriting. "Another time his mom came, and we were over at rehearsals," Osbourne recalls. "I was sitting here, his mom was next to me and Randy was next to her. And I'm fucking bloated and fucking drunk or whatever, and she goes to Randy, 'When do I get to meet Ozzy?' And he starts laughing. He goes, 'That's him.' She goes, 'Oh!'"