"Cozy" Colin Powell

BBC-News: Tuesday, April 7, 1998 Published at 06:39 GMT 07:39 UK:

Drummer Cozy Powell is dead

"One of the best drummers we've ever had."

Music industry colleagues and fans have paid tribute to the rock drummer, Cozy Powell, who has died aged 50. The drummer, whose real name was Colin Powell, was killed in a car crash. According to reports, his Saab 9000 crashed into central reservation barriers on the M4 outside Bristol.

Cozy Powell was a legend in rock circles - his career reading like a roll-call of Seventies supergroups. The drummer was a member of Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Whitesnake, the Michael Schenker Group and the ELP spin-off Emerson, Lake & Powell.

He also appeared with Donovan, The Who's Roger Daltrey, Gary Moore and Queen's Brian May. However, his membership of most bands was more like a brief guest slot, rather than a long term commitment. Headlining on his own, his Dance With The Devil single made it to number three in the UK charts in 1973. Recently, he had made a comeback with Peter Green, a founder member of Fleetwood Mac.


Mr Green's publicist, Roland Hymes, said: "Whenever I met him he seemed a lovely bloke. He had been through it all and had come out the other side," he said. "Basically he was a nice guy making his living out of music and having a good time."

The record producer, Micky Most, who worked with the drummer, said: "Musically speaking he was one of the best drummers we've ever had in this country. "He was a great guy, a fantastic musician and he always had a perfect disposition.

'Always great fun' "I spent a lot of time with Cozy in the Seventies and we went over to Detroit recording together. We had a lot of laughs and it was always a pleasurable experience to be around him. He was great fun."

Mr Most said he last saw the drummer around a month ago when Powell popped into his studios for a chat. "He seemed in very good form. He was always a very 'up' guy. "Cozy worked with some of the greatest people and he was renowned as a great asset through both his attitude and his playing. "It's a great loss. We're all gutted."

Web fans say 'we'll miss you'

Joe Siegler, Webmaster of a site called the Official Cozy Powell Home Page, paid his tribute shortly after the news broke. He said he had only known Cozy since November when they talked about doing the site. "I found him easy to work with, and a really great chap. Cozy, I never met ya, but I'll miss ya," he wrote.

String of bands

His musical career began in 1965 as a member of The Sorcerers. By 1971 he had established an enviable reputation that saw him linking up with guitarist Jeff Beck. He soon formed his own band, Bedlam, but within two years he was enjoying solo success with his hit single Dance with the Devil.

Other hits included The Man In Black, reaching number 18 and with his band, Cozy Powell's Hammer, he released Na Na Na, which climbed to number 10. This last project split in 1975 and he spent three months indulging in one of his biggest loves, fast cars.

He devoted this spell to motor racing before joining Rainbow and playing on four albums before leaving in 1980. Later he joined the Michael Schenker Group and had a short tenure with Whitesnake.

By the 1990s he was playing with and producing Black Sabbath and in 1991, he turned up on Comic Relief's No 1 single, The Stonk, with comedians Hale & Pace. Since then Powell has joined Brian May on a Jimi Hendrix tribute album, and supported Peter Green on his comeback tour.

In past months his sessions have included stints with Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest and Brian May's new album. He was recently reportedly working with guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen.

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