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Randy California: a hero who admires fortitude and great guitar playing

He had his own style and enough talent, he was a great musician and an iconic man about whom no one could say anything bad. He died tragically, but heroically...

Remembering Randy California, one of the most legendary guitarists of the last century

Randy California - one of the legendary guitarists and the greatest hero fathers history. He was brilliant and versatile in his sound, but his fame was elusive despite his strong friendship with some of rock's heavyweights. Today, most listeners remember him from the song Tauruswhich Led Zeppelin allegedly turned into a "Stairway to Heaven.". But his career and life were much more vibrant, creatively diverse and interesting - they were not limited to one composition.

It's wonderful, but sad The story of Randy California, guitarist extraordinaire, who won the heart Jimi HendrixHe replaced Ritchie Blackmore in his time in Deep Purple and died without letting his son drown...

Bohemian childhood and meeting Hendrix

Randy California
Randy California

Randy was born on February 20, 1951 in Californiaand his childhood can rightly be called BohemianThe boy's uncle owned Ash Grove, one of the city's most prestigious music clubs! The boy grew up surrounded by musicians, and it's not surprising that at some point he wanted to be one himself. When he picked up the guitar, his teachers were blues legend Sleepy John Estes and Clarence White. He even had his own band with his stepfather Edom Cassidy! But the most iconic figure in Randy's biography was Jimi HendrixThe 15-year-old had already met in New York.

Randy ran into Hendrix in a music store in Manhattan: with the courage of a 15-year-old, he approached him and asked if he could show him some moves. Hendrix handed the kid a guitar, and Randy played something good enough - so good that Jimi invited him to play with him that night! By the way: it was Hendrix who gave the future guitarist his name (California), as there was another Randy in his band, whom the virtuoso in turn nicknamed "Texas. California became part of the "musical gang," but because of his tender age to go with the boys to England couldn't (although there was such an offer from Hendrix).

Birth Spirit and Success

Randy California and the Spirit Group
Randy California and the Spirit Group

In the fall of 1966, the California family returned to Los Angeles. Just one year later, the formation of the Spirits Rebellious, subsequently renamed simply Spirit. It included Jay Ferguson, Mark Ends, and John Locke. The guys quickly got a contract with Lou Adler, one of the key figures in the rock world of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1968 they released their dazzling debut - it was a psychedelic work, but with a hint of jazz and intricate string arrangements. In his younger years, California shined on his Danelectro! His style was aggressive, but also elegant... By the way: on the same album was released the already mentioned Taurus.

The record reached the top 40, which was a clear signal to the band: it's time to record a second album! В "The Family That Plays Together Randy demonstrated his talent as an author by writing "I Got a Line on You" - one of the strongest songs of both the Spirit and the late '60s in general.

Another great moment on the album is the closing track "Aren't You Glad"in which California, perhaps, performed the most brilliant solo on the record. It's not hard to guess what Hendrix saw in this child genius...

The work turned out to be a great success, and soon the band was touring the country. Spirit also performed with Led Zeppelin, and their influence on British legends is hard to deny. After seeing California play the thermo-vox, a young Jimmy Page also included this instrument in his list of favorites.

Growing up creatively and having an experience with Deep Purple

Randy California
Randy California

The band's third album was released in 1969 and was the least successful. Although there were some noteworthy moments as well - for example "Dark Eyed Woman with one of the best solos of California's career.

However, at the end of that year, the single "1984"which showed how much California had matured as a composer and guitarist.

The opening record of the '70s "Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus" showcased some of the band's best songs, such as "Mr. Skin." or "When I Touch You". Alas, the album that was supposed to make them famous didn't get half the recognition it deserved.

Against the backdrop of low chart numbers, there was a big change in the lineup: Ferguson and Ends left Spirit to form Jo Jo Gunne. Randy is about to take another big hit. Hendrix's death. The musician was really crushed, but the work became a lifeline for him. A striking episode of this period was his brief participation in the deep purpleWhen he was filling in for Ritchie Blackmore. Rumor has it that the band members were absolutely delighted (and some were especially happy to see Randy, given Blackmore's uneasy personality).

A scary but heroic finale

Randy California
Randy California

In 1972, California released his first solo album, and in the middle of the decade he revived Spirit. His name is still. highly regarded his colleagues, with whom he often toured, and he continued to play the inexpensive Stratocaster (although in the twilight of his days he gave preference to the Charvel).

Throughout the '90s, he never stopped touring, except for one of those few breaks between shows. He was Hawaii, one of his favorite places, on vacation with his family, when he went swimming with his 12-year-old son Quinn. As they swam, the tide began to turn and dragged them into the ocean. California grabbed his son and pushed him as close to shore as possible, but he didn't have the strength to get out himself... He drowned on January 2, 1997.

He had his own style and enough talent, he was a great musician and an iconic man about whom no one could say anything bad. He died tragically, but heroicallysaving his own son's life. And there is no better legacy than this.

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