Delores Rhoads, Music Teacher + Mother of Randy Rhoads, Dies at 95

Randy Rhoads TributeFrazer Harrison, Getty Images

Delores Rhoads, mother of legendary Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads, has died at the age of 95.

Regardless of who her son was, Delores Rhoads’ death is a heavy blow to the world of music. She was truly an exceptional woman, learning and teaching music from a very young age and founding the Musonia music school in her late 20s. All her children, including Randy, studied there.

“When she was nine, her teacher told her she had too many students, and she needed my mom to take some on,” Randy’s brother Kelle told “So she started teaching then. All in all, she taught for 78 years.”

Delores’ first musical instrument was the cornet, which Delores’ father, a Depression-era doctor accepted from a patient in lieu of money. Delores’ father presented her with the horn, which she took to brilliantly. In fact, 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 ’40s. She graduated in 1944 and got married. Plays piano, violin, flute, flugelhorn.”

During an interview, Delores reminisced about Randy Rhoads’ early penchant for the guitar, “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. He would branch out and do things that 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.”

Ozzy Osbourne memorialized Delores in a tweet:

Randy Rhoads immortalized his mother in song with “Dee,” a classical guitar piece found on Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz record.

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