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Cozy Powell

Cozy Powell in Black Sabbath.
Background information
Birth name Colin Flooks
Born December 29, 1947(1947-12-29)
Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England
Died April 5, 1998 (aged 50)
Bristol, England
Genres Hard rock, blues-rock, progressive rock, instrumental rock, heavy metal, jazz fusion
Occupations Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Drums, percussion
Years active 1968 - 1998
Labels Polydor
Associated acts Cozy Powell's Hammer, The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, MSG, Whitesnake, Emerson, Lake & Powell, Blue Murder, Gary Moore, Black Sabbath, The Brian May Band, Peter Green Splinter Group, various others

Colin Flooks (December 29, 1947 - April 5, 1998), better known as Cozy Powell, was an English rock drummer who made his name with many major rock bands.[1]


Early history

Cozy Powell was born in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England, and started playing drums at age 12 in the school orchestra, thereafter playing along in his spare time to popular singles of the day. The first band he was in, called the Corals, played each week at the Youth Club in Cirencester. At age 15 he had already worked out an impressive drum solo. The nickname 'Cozy' was borrowed from the jazz drummer Cozy Cole.


The semi-professional circuit was next, with semi-pro outfit The Sorcerers, a vocal harmony pop band. The late nights and usual on-the-road exploits began to affect his education, and Powell left to take an office job in order to finance the purchase of his first set of Premier drums. The Sorcerers performed in the German club scene of the 1960s. By 1968 the band had returned to England, basing themselves around Birmingham. Powell struck up friendships with fellow musicians like Robert Plant and John Bonham (both at the time unknowns in Listen), future Slade vocalist Noddy Holder, bassist Dave Pegg and a young guitarist called Tony Iommi. The Sorcerers now became Youngblood, and a series of singles were released in late 1968-69. The group then linked up with the Move bassist/singer Ace Kefford to form The Ace Kefford Stand. Powell also began session work. Powell with fellow Sorcerers Dave and Dennis Ball formed Big Bertha.

Isle of Wight 1970 and Jeff Beck

Powell also played with swamp rocker Tony Joe White at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970. During this time the two became good friends, with White being best man at Powell's wedding. Powell then landed the then highly prestigious drumming job with Jeff Beck's group in April 1970. After the recording of two albums, Rough and Ready (October 1971) and Jeff Beck Group (July 1972), the band fell apart.


By late 1972 Powell had joined up with the Ball brothers and singer Frank Aiello to form Bedlam, whose eponymous album was recorded for Chrysalis and released in August 1973.[2]. Eventually Powell abandoned Bedlam to record singles such as Dance with the Devil which reached #3 in the UK singles chart during January 1974. Beck's studio producer was Mickie Most and Powell soon found himself drafted into sessions for artists signed to Most's RAK label, including Julie Felix, Hot Chocolate, Donovan and Suzi Quatro. To cash in on his chart success the drummer formed Cozy Powell's Hammer in April 1974.


In 1975 he joined Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Powell, together with Blackmore, were the only constants in the band's line-up over the next five years, as Blackmore evolved the sound of the band from a neo-classical hard rock to a more commercial AOR sound. Rainbow's 1979 Down to Earth LP (from which singles "Since You Been Gone" and "All Night Long" are taken) proved to be the band's most successful album thus far, although Powell was concerned over the overtly commercial sound. Powell decided to leave Rainbow, although not before they headlined the first ever Monsters of Rock show at Castle Donington, England on August 16, 1980. The festival was Powell's last show with the band. During 1980, when Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died, Powell was considered as a possible replacement for Bonham, but this possibility faded when Zeppelin disbanded.




After Powell left Rainbow he worked with ex-vocalist Graham Bonnet on Bonnet's new project called Graham Bonnet & The Hooligans, their most notable single being the UK top 10 single "Night Games" (1981), also on Bonnet's solo Line Up album. Powell then performed with a number of major bands - Michael Schenker Group from 1981 to 1982, and Whitesnake from 1982 to 1984. In 1985 he started recording with Phenomena for their first album, which was released in 1986 when he joined up with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake as a member of Emerson, Lake & Powell.


A stint with Gary Moore followed in 1989. His most well-known association was with Black Sabbath from 1988 to 1991, and again in 1994-1995. Between late 1992 and early 1993, Powell put together an occasional touring band using the old band name 'Cozy Powell's Hammer' featuring himself on drums, Neil Murray on bass, Mario Parga on guitar and Tony Martin on vocals and occasional rhythm guitar/synth module. The band performed throughout Europe and appeared on German T.V. Powell along with Neil Murray were members of Brian May's band, playing on the Back To The Light and Another World albums. Cozy played with May opening for Guns N' Roses on the second American leg of their Use Your Illusion tour in 1993. The duo also served a spell with blues guitarist Peter Green in the mid-nineties. Cozy's last recording session was for Colin Blunstone's The Light Inside, alongside Don Airey, which was released shortly after Cozy's death. Prior to his death in 1998, Cozy had pulled out of a tour with Yngwie Malmsteen due to an injury and was preparing to tour with Brian May.

Motor racing and TV appearances

Powell had a fascination with fast cars and motorbikes, and raced for Hitachi on the UK saloon car circuit for a few months. He made headlines when he appeared on the BBC children's programme Record Breakers where he set a world record for the most drums played in under one minute, live on television.


Cozy Powell died on April 5, 1998 following a car crash while driving his Saab 9000 at 104 mph in bad weather on the M4 motorway near Bristol. According to the BBC report, at the time of the crash, Powell's blood-alcohol reading was over the legal limit, he was not wearing a seatbelt, and he was talking to his girlfriend on his mobile phone.[3]

He was living at Lambourn in Berkshire at the time and had returned to the studio shortly before his death to record with Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green. By that time, he had been the drummer on at least 66 albums with minor contributions on many other recordings. Many rock drummers have cited him as a major influence.[4][5]

Equipment information

Drum set ups through his career included;

1977-78 (with Rainbow)

Ludwig red sparkle: Two 26" bass drums with Premier 250 pedals, two 14" rack toms, two 16" floor toms. 14"x6" metal symphonic snare. Cymbals (All Paiste): 24" ride (formula 602), 18" china, 18" crash-ride, 20" ride, 18" crash, two 16" crashes, 6" splash and 15" hi-hats. Ludwig 3S sticks.

Circa 1983 (with Whitesnake)

Yamaha custom in natural wood finish: Two 26" bass drums, two 15" rack toms, and 18" and 20" floor toms. 14"x6" metal snare. Cymbals (Paiste 2002 series): 24" ride, 18" china, 20" crash-ride, 20" crash,18" crash, 6" splash and 15" hi-hats.

1989 (Black Sabbath)

Yamaha 9000 series custom in black and silver: Two 26" bass drums,6"x16", 8"x18", 13"x9", and 14"x10" rack toms, 18" and 20" floor toms. 14"x6" metal snare. Cymbals (Paiste 3000 series): 24" ride, 18" china, 20" crash-ride, 20" crash, 18" crash, 6" splash, 15" hi-hats and a 36" gong.

Posthumous releases

In October 2005 Powell made a "new" appearance on an album. Former Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin released a studio album (Scream), and on it is a track named "Raising Hell". This was a track that Powell had recorded the drum track for back when he and Tony were in Hammer in 1992, and gave to Tony for "future use". There are apparently as many as 19 additional drum tracks also recorded that could turn up in the future. Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton has also released material recorded during the 1997 Baptizm Of Fire sessions; this 2006 collection, entitled Edge of the World, was released under the moniker of Tipton, Entwistle & Powell, in memory of John Entwistle and Powell.

New York Drummer Ken Serio played a tribute to Cozy Powell on his highly acclaimed Through The Gate CD covering several songs from Cozy's instrumental solo albums including the Bernie Marsden penned "El Sid" from Cozy's Over The Top album.

Band timeline (not including session work)

Text in bold indicates solo work

  • The Sorcerers (1967-1968)
  • Youngblood (1968-1969)
  • The Ace Kefford Stand (1969)
  • Big Bertha (1969-1970)
  • The Jeff Beck Group (1970-1972)
  • Bedlam (1972-1973)
  • Cozy Powell (1973-1974)
  • Cozy Powell's Hammer (1974)
  • Rainbow (1975-1980)
  • Cozy Powell (1979)
  • Graham Bonnet & the Hooligans (1980-1981)
  • Cozy Powell (1981)
  • Michael Schenker Group (1981-1982)
  • Cozy Powell (1982-1983)
  • Whitesnake (1983-1984)
  • Emerson, Lake & Powell (1985-1986)
  • Pete York/Cozy Powell (1987)
  • Black Sabbath (1988-1991)
  • The Brian May Band (1991-1992)
  • Cozy Powell (1992)
  • Cozy Powell's Hammer (1992-1993)
  • The Brian May Band (1993-1994)
  • Black Sabbath (1994-1995)
  • Peter Green Splinter Group (1997)
  • Tipton, Entwistle and Powell (1997)
  • Yngwie Malmsteen (1997)
  • The Brian May Band (1998)
  • Peter Green Splinter Group (1998)
  • The Snakes (1998)

Discography and appearances


  1. ^ Allmusic bio & performance credits
  2. ^ Allmusic bio & performance credits
  3. ^ BBC report of the crash
  4. ^ Modern Drummer Magazine / Article on Silvertide drummer Kevin Franks cites Powell as influence - Sept 2003
  5. ^ Modern Drummer Magazine / Article on Gene Hoglan cites Powell as influence - Sept 2005
  • Record Collector magazine #203 (July 1996, Cozy Powell interview & discography)
  • BBC obituary

External links


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