Bassist Rudy Sarzo, who played with Randy Rhoads in Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne’s band, revealed the news yesterday via his Facebook page.
“The world today has lost one of the most gracious and sweetest ladies I’m blessed to have known, Delores Rhoads,” he wrote. “Please keep her and the Rhoads family in your prayers.”
Delores’ exact time, date and cause of death haven’t yet been revealed.
“Randy grew up musically in my school,” she once said. “I am sure he was influenced by this in many ways. He started when he was so young, he was somewhere between 6-and-a-half and 7 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.
“To play in my little group that I had even way back then, he had to read [music notation], 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.”
Randy’s brother, Kelle, recently added some details via Patch.com:
“When she was 9, her teacher told her she had too many students, and she needed my mom to take some on. So she started teaching then. All in all, she taught for 78 years.”
Delores’ first musical instrument was the cornet, which her father, a Depression-era doctor, accepted from a patient. Her teacher was Herbert Lincoln Clarke, who was John Phillip Sousa’s first cornetist.
“She plays 15 instruments; her main instruments were trumpet and cornet,” Kelle added. “She primarily excelled in brass. She changed a policy at UCLA when she was a music student there. A woman couldn’t sit first-chair in the brass section. Until my mom. 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. In the very early Forties. She graduated in 1944 and got married. Plays piano, violin, flute, flugelhorn.”
Delores graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in music and founded the Musonia School of Music in North Hollywood, California, in 1949. After receiving his first guitar at 6, Randy began taking lessons at Musonia.
“His friends flocked to him to listen to his playing, but Randy wouldn’t settle for that simple type of band music to play for his friends,” Delores said. “He would branch out and do things I wouldn’t even know, which were probably the current hits of that time. He was learning to read music. A little later down the line we entered our group in a local competition. Randy took off on a little bit of lead at that point and on the judges comments they mentioned that the guitar didn’t fit with the proper school type thing, They said the guitar was playing all over the place.”
“Dee,” Randy’s classical guitar interlude from Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz, was written as a tribute to Delores. You can hear it below. You also can see some of the social-media tributes to Delores, which continue to appear on Twitter and Facebook.
The Music Zoo sends our condolences to the Rhoads family and all of those who are mourning.