In a new interview with The Metal Voice, Max Norman, the producer of Ozzy Osbourne‘s first three solo albums, talked about losing Randy Rhoads, who died in a plane crash in March 1982 at the age of 25.
Norman said: “I was obviously very shocked, and disappointed, and saddened… I was sitting at the back and was asked, ‘Have you heard about Randy?’ And I said, ‘No, what happened?’ And he goes, ‘He got killed.’ And I’m like, ‘Holy sh*t! What happened?’ And I remember saying, ‘What is Ozzy going to do now?’
“Because Randy was such a huge part of those first two records. Not only is it awful that he’s been killed, but it’s awful for Ozzy. And, in fact, it actually did end up being awful for Ozzy because after that it just started to slow down. He had a pretty good time with Jake [E. Lee, guitar] and I think Jake kind of worked as hard as he could, and that’s probably what you’re going to ask me next.”
It was a huge shock,” he continued. “And I remember I couldn’t understand it because, actually, I’d spoken to Randy about three weeks before — maybe a Ridge Farm [Studio] or something, I spoke to him on the phone, and he was saying, ‘We’re just winding up the tour.’ And he actually said to me, ‘I think I’m going to get the train home from Florida.’ I think the tour was going to end in Florida, and he said, ‘I think I’m going to get a train home to L.A. — I don’t like flying.’
“He hated flying,” Norman added. “Years later, I found out talking to Lee that it was the keyboard player, Don [Airey], who persuaded him [Randy] to go on the plane. “And Don, I found out he’s been in therapy for many years because of that, and I feel very sorry for him.
“At the time, I could not understand why Randy got on that plane because he hated planes — he was very, very afraid of planes, and I just couldn’t understand it. And I guess Don Airey persuaded him to get on the plane…”
“I went to see Ozzy sometime after that, we were working on the  Tribute [live] record and I went up to Don‘s compound up in the hills there in L.A. I was having a few drinks with Ozzy and he was saying that he saw Randy actually in the wreckage trying to get out.
“I take all that stuff with a pinch of salt, I think it’s very easy for witnesses, to imagine stuff, or think of stuff. I have no idea, maybe that’s true, maybe it isn’t true, I don’t know. It’s just a horrible thing, it doesn’t really bear repeating that much.
“I never understood why he got on that, so I can understand why Don was very upset because he felt very guilty about persuading him to get on there.”
You can watch full interview below.