Born in Cirencester, Powell started his musical career with The Sorcerers in 1965. In 1971 he joined the Jeff Beck group for two albums, before going solo then forming Bedlam. His solo single Dance With The Devil reached third place in the UK charts in 1973. Two other top 20 singles followed, as Cozy Powell’s Hammer. The following year, Cozy made headlines when he appeared on the BBC children’s programme Record Breakers where he set a world record for being the world’s fastest drummer live on television.
In 1976 he joined Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, the band for which he is probably best remembered.
In 1980, when Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died, Cozy was considered by the band as a possible replacement for Bonham. The band decided against it and disbanded.
On August 16, 1980, Rainbow headlined the first ever Monsters of Rock show at Castle Donington, England. Following the success of the event (which in turn followed the success of Rainbow’s 1979 Down to Earth LP from which singles Since You Been Gone and All Night Long are taken), Powell left Rainbow along with vocalist Graham Bonnet to start work on Bonnet’s new project called Graham Bonnet & the Hooligans, their most notable single being Night Games (1981). Powell then performed with a number of major bands - Michael Schenker Group from 1981 to 1982, Whitesnake from 1982 to 1984, then with Keith Emerson, Greg Lake in 1986 and Gary Moore in 1989, then Black Sabbath intermittently from 1989 to 1991, and again from 1993 - 1995.
Cozy along with Neil Murray (fellow ex-member of Cozy Powell’s Hammer, Whitesnake, Gary Moore and Black Sabbath) were members of the Brian May Band, playing on the Back To The Light and Another World albums. They were due to start touring with the band in the Autumn of 1998. The duo also served a spell with returning blues legend Peter Green in the mid nineties.
Cozy Powell died on April 5, 1998 following a car crash, driving his Saab 9000 in bad weather on the M4 motorway near Bristol. He had returned to the studio shortly before his death to record with ex Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, as part of Peter’s Splinter Group. By that time, he had been the drummer on at least 66 albums with minor contributions on many other recordings. It was generally felt that Powell’s death was a great loss to the world of popular music. Countless rock-based drummers have cited Cozy Powell as an influence.
From the official Cozy Powell website:
“Cozy Powell is one of the most prolific drummers in the business. His CV runs like a Who’s Who of rock, with stints as a fully paid up member of Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Whitesnake, M.S.G. and the ELP spin-off Emerson, Lake, & Powell. Then there are those legendary guest appearances - with everyone from Donovan to Roger Daltrey, Jack Bruce to Jeff Beck and Gary Moore to Brian May.
His career not only spans three decades, it’s also one of the most diverse in rock. In the 1960’s, Cozy was a member of the Ace Kefford Stand; in the 70’s he was a session drummer for Mickie Most’s RAK label, which made Cozy a household name with the Dance With the Devil single; and in 1991, he turned up on Comic Relief’s No 1 single, “The Stonk”, with comedians Hale & Pace!
Since then Cozy joined Brian May on a Jimi Hendrix tribute album, and supported the legendary Peter Green on his comeback. Most recently, sessions with Glenn Tipton (Judas Priest), Brian May (new album) and Yngwie Malmsteen, the last two with tours, have seen Cozy Powell back to his busiest and perhaps, his best.
Cozy wrote this text himself when the site first went online and had intended to continue this with further info, but alas, he never did. If you’d like to read more about Cozy Powell, I suggest visiting his page on Wikipedia.”
Edited by Torso-blake on 13 Apr 2008, 12:57
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