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Cozy Powell
Powell in the 1980s as a member of Black Sabbath
Powell in the 1980s as a member of Black Sabbath
Background information
Birth nameColin Trevor Flooks
Born(1947-12-29)29 December 1947
Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England
Died5 April 1998(1998-04-05) (aged 50)
Bristol, England
GenresHard rock, blues rock, progressive rock, instrumental rock, heavy metal, jazz fusion
InstrumentsDrums, percussion
Years active1968–1998
Associated acts

Cozy Powell (born Colin Trevor Flooks; 29 December 1947 – 5 April 1998) was an English rock drummer, who made his name with many major rock bands and artists such as The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group, Gary Moore, Robert Plant, Brian May, Whitesnake, Emerson, Lake & Powell, and Black Sabbath.[1]

Powell had appeared on at least 66 albums, with contributions on many other recordings. Many rock drummers have cited him as a major influence.[2][3]

Early life

Colin Flooks (Cozy Powell) was born in Cirencester, Gloucestershire and was adopted. He never met his birth parents.[4] He started playing drums aged twelve in the school orchestra, thereafter playing along in his spare time to popular singles of the day. The first band Powell was in, called the Corals, played each week at the youth club in Cirencester. During this time the band broke the world record for non-stop playing.[5] At the age of fifteen, Cozy had already worked out an impressive drum solo. The stage name "Cozy" was borrowed from the jazz drummer Cozy Cole. The Corals also played at a youth club in Latton a small village seven miles (11 km) from Cirencester.


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 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 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's bassist/singer Ace Kefford to form The Ace Kefford Stand. Five recorded tracks are available on the Ace Kefford album 'Ace The Face' released by Sanctuary Records in 2003. Powell also began session work. Powell with fellow Sorcerers Dave and Denny 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. Powell landed the then highly prestigious drumming job with Jeff Beck's group in April 1970. Their first project was to record an album of Motown covers in the USA. This was never finished and remains unreleased. During the sessions, photographs show Cozy Powell and Jeff Beck present at the recording of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition", on which Jeff Beck appears. Cozy has stated in interviews he plays on the record but this remains to be confirmed. After the recording of two albums, Rough and Ready (October 1971) and Jeff Beck Group (July 1972), the band fell apart.


In 1972 Powell drummed for two tracks ("Hey Sandy" and "Martha") on Harvey Andrews' album Writer of Songs. By late 1972 he 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.[1]

With Powell's session work at RAK and subsequent solo success (including "Dance with the Devil", which reached No. 3 in the UK singles chart during January 1974), Bedlam fell apart. "Dance With The Devil" was his only solo hit in the United States, peaking at No. 49. The track featured Suzi Quatro on bass. Powell's second hit during 1974 was with "The Man in Black", which reached No. 18. Arrows front man Alan Merrill, also a RAK records artist, played electric bass on '"The Man in Black'" and the b-side '"After Dark". Jeff 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. The line-up included Bernie Marsden (guitar), Clive Chaman (bass), Don Airey (keyboards) and Frank Aiello (Bedlam) on vocals. Clive Chaman was replaced on bass by Neil Murray in the band in early 1975 for the RAK Rocks Britain Tour. "Na Na Na" was a UK No. 10 hit, and another single "Le Souk" was recorded but never released. Sharing a love of the power-trio set up (Cream), Cozy Powell formed a band with guitarist Clem Clempson and bassist Greg Ridley (Humble Pie), but when this fell apart Cozy temporarily quit the music business to take up motorcycle racing. His desire to launch a three-piece in the vein of Cream remained; recordings with Tipton, Entwistle & Powell are testament to this[6] as much as sessions with Cream's Jack Bruce and on guitar Uli Jon Roth, briefly after recording for Cinderella: "to get him (Uli Roth) had been the idea of Larry Mazor (at the time manager of Cinderella), Jack met him, but at the time Uli was busy with a symphony. I don't think it would have worked, we had him in mind as well as some other people, like Gary Moore, ideally Jeff Beck really",[7] followed by Clem Clempson, Pat Travers and Pat Thrall with whom they recorded, shopped for a deal - unsuccessfully—until Powell would join Black Sabbath.

1975–1980: Rainbow

In 1975 he joined Rainbow. Powell and Ritchie 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-heavy metal 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;[when?] however, 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 16 August 1980. The festival was Powell's last show with the band.

1980 and 1988: Bonnet and Forcefield

After Powell left Rainbow he worked with vocalist Graham Bonnet (he too an ex-Rainbow member) 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. For the rest of the 1980s, Powell assumed short-term journeyman roles with a number of major bands – Michael Schenker Group from 1980 to 1982, and Whitesnake from 1982 to 1985. In 1985 he started recording with Phenomena for their self-titled first album, which was released the same year, when he joined up with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake as a member of Emerson, Lake & Powell. He also worked briefly with another new supergroup named Forcefield along with Bonnet and later Tony Martin on vocals, former Ian Gillan Band member Ray Fenwick and former Focus member Jan Akkerman on the guitars, Neil Murray and later Laurence Cottle on bass. Cottle would eventually join as a session player for the recording of Black Sabbath's Headless Cross and again was replaced by Murray following that tour.

1982–1985: Whitesnake

Powell was invited to join Whitesnake in late of 1982 after his departure from Michael Schenker Group in the same year to replace Ian Paice for a presumed farewell tour of the band in Europe, but after the success of Saints & Sinners album in the British and Japanese charts and a successful tour that culminated in a memorable performance in the Monsters of Rock Festival in August 1983, the band signed with the American label Geffen Records, but because of contract obligations had to release one more album Slide It In for their previous label Liberty. Now under guidance of A&R executive John Kalodner the album was remixed with the help of producer Keith Olsen for the American market with Cozy, Mel Galley and Jon Lord as the only remaining members of the previous line up along with David Coverdale. His tenure with the band ended in the summer of 1985 (for contractual reasons) as Cozy decided to join Keith Emerson and Greg Lake in a revamped version of ELP.

1988–1998: Black Sabbath and solo

Powell worked with Gary Moore in 1988, followed by stints 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 television. Powell made headlines in 1991 when he appeared on the BBC children's programme Record Breakers, where he set a world record for the most drums (400) played in under one minute, live on television.[8]

Powell along with Neil Murray were members of Brian May's band, playing on the Back to the Light and Another World albums. He 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. Powell briefly joined Yngwie Malmsteen for the album Facing the Animal in 1997.[9] Powell's last recording session was for Colin Blunstone's The Light Inside, alongside Don Airey, which was released shortly after Powell's death. The final solo album by Cozy Powell Especially for You was released in 1998 after his death, and featured American vocalist John West, Neil Murray, Lonnie Park, Michael Casswell and others.


Powell died on 5 April 1998 following a car crash while driving his Saab 9000 at 104 mph (167 km/h) in bad weather on the M4 motorway near Bristol. He had been dating a married woman who was having problems with her husband.[10] Upset, she phoned him and asked him to come quickly to her house which was approximately 35 miles (56 km) away. As he was driving to her house, she phoned him again and asked "Where are you?" He informed her he was on his way and she then heard him say "Oh shit!" followed by a loud bang.[10]

Powell was ejected through the windscreen and died at the scene.[10] According to the BBC report, at the time of the crash Powell's blood-alcohol reading was over the legal limit, and he was not wearing a seat belt, in addition to talking with his girlfriend on his mobile phone. The official investigation also found evidence of a slow puncture in a rear tyre that, it was suggested, could well have caused a sudden collapse of the tyre with a consequent loss of control of the car.[11]

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 founder Peter Green. At the time of death, Powell had recently pulled out of tour rehearsals with Yngwie Malmsteen, having suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident. One of his last phone calls, to Joe Geesin (his fan club editor), was to express distress about this, to describe the physiotherapy treatment he was undergoing, and to voice his enthusiasm for the then-forthcoming Brian May tour.

A memorial plaque in Cirencester was unveiled on 7 January 2016, in a ceremony led by Brian May, with Suzi Quatro, Bernie Marsden, Neil Murray, Don Airey and Tony Iommi in attendance.[12][13]

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 Powell had recorded the drum track for when he and Tony were in Hammer in 1992, and gave to Tony for "future use".[14] 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.

Band timeline (not including session work)

Text in bold indicates solo work


Year Band Title
2004 Big Bertha Live in Hamburg 1970 Live
1971 The Jeff Beck Group Rough & Ready Studio
1972 The Jeff Beck Group Jeff Beck Group Studio
1973 Bedlam Bedlam Studio
1999 Bedlam Anthology Compilation
2003 Bedlam Live in London 1973 Live
1973 Cozy Powell's Hammer Dance with the Devil Single
1974 Cozy Powell's Hammer The Man in Black Single
1974 Cozy Powell's Hammer Na Na Na Single
1976 Rainbow Rising Studio
1977 Rainbow On Stage Live
1990 Rainbow Live in Germany 1976 Live
2006 Rainbow Deutschland Tournee 1976 Live
2006 Rainbow Live in Munich 1977 Live
1978 Rainbow Long Live Rock 'n' Roll Studio
1979 Rainbow Down to Earth Studio
2015 Rainbow Down To Earth Tour 1979 Live
1979 Cozy Powell Theme One Single
1979 Cozy Powell Over the Top Studio
1980 Rainbow Monsters Of Rock Live
2016 Rainbow Monsters of Rock - Live at Donington 1980 Live
1986 Rainbow Finyl Vinyl Live
1981 Cozy Powell Tilt Studio
1981 Graham Bonnet & the Hooligans Line-Up Studio
1981 The Michael Schenker Group MSG Studio
1982 The Michael Schenker Group One Night at Budokan Live
1983 Cozy Powell Octopuss Studio
1983 Whitesnake Live at Castle Donington Video
1984 Whitesnake Slide It In Studio
2014 Whitesnake Live In 1984: Back To The Bone Live
1986 Emerson, Lake & Powell Emerson, Lake & Powell Studio
2003 Emerson, Lake & Powell The Sprocket Sessions Live
2003 Emerson, Lake & Powell Live in Concert Live
1987 Forcefield Forcefield Studio
1988 Forcefield Forcefield II: The Talisman Studio
1989 Forcefield Forcefield III: To Oz and Back Studio
1989 Black Sabbath Headless Cross Studio
1990 Black Sabbath Tyr Studio
1991 Forcefield Forcefield IV: Let the Wild Run Free Studio
1992 Forcefield Instrumentals Compilation
1992 Brian May Back to the Light Studio
1992 Cozy Powell The Drums Are Back Studio
1993 Cozy Powell Resurrection Single
1994 The Brian May Band Live at the Brixton Academy Live
1995 Black Sabbath Forbidden Studio
1997 Yngwie Malmsteen Facing the Animal Studio
1997 Peter Green Splinter Group Peter Green Splinter Group Studio
1997 Cozy Powell The Best of Cozy Powell Compilation
2006 Tipton, Entwistle & Powell Edge of the World Studio
1998 Brian May Another World Studio
1998 Brian May Red Special EP
1999 Cozy Powell Especially for You Studio

Guest appearances and sessions

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 in the mid-seventies.[11] He was quoted as saying in an interview, "I drive like I drum – madly".[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b McDonald, Steven. "Allmusic bio & performance credits". Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Modern Drummer Magazine/Article on Silvertide drummer Kevin Franks cites Powell as influence". Retrieved 24 October 2011.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Modern Drummer Magazine/Article on Gene Hoglan cites Powell as influence". Retrieved 24 October 2011.[dead link]
  4. ^ Talevski, Nick (7 April 2010). Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door. p. 514. ISBN 9780857121172. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  5. ^ "The Corals just played on and on - to new world record". Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard. 7 January 1966.
  6. ^ Matthias Penzel: "Hämmern mit Haltung". DrumHeads!! 1/2018.
  7. ^ Matthias Penzel: coverstory. drums & percussion V/1989, p 12.
  8. ^ "Cozy Powell on Record Breakers". YouTube. 2 May 2008. Archived from the original on 18 November 2021. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  9. ^ [1] Archived 26 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b c Iommi, Tony (2011). Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0306819551.
  11. ^ a b c "Girlfriend hears rock star die". BBC. 25 August 1998. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Brian May unveils blue plaque for Cozy Powell". Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Rock legends including Black Sabbath lead guitarist Tony Iommi brought together for Cozy Powell plaque unveiling (From Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard)". 24 December 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  14. ^ Siegler, Joe (8 August 2006). "Site Revamp". The Official Cozy Powell Site. Retrieved 14 March 2016.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 May 2022, at 05:48
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