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Cozy Powell, born Colin Flooks in December 29, 1947 and died in April 5, 1998, was an English rock drummer who was widely identified with the group Rainbow.

Born in Gloucestershire, England, Powell began playing the drums at age twelve. From playing during his spare time, he was recruited to Corals, his first band, with whom he played weekly at the Youth Club in Cirencester. By age fifteen, he was already an incredible drummer, with notable drum solos. He adopted the name Cozy from the jazz drummer Cozy Cole.

Powells style is that of heavy-hitting drumming, one that works with many kinds of rock music. He launched his professional career in 1965 with The Sorcerers, a vocal harmony pop band. The band did performances in the German club scene of the 1960s. Powell had to depart from the band, as the gigs were taking a toll on his education already. He also had to work at an office in order to buy his first set of Premier drums. At this time, Powell began doing session work, and formed Big Bertha, along with fellow members of The Sorcerers, brothers Dave and Dennis Ball. A noteworthy collaboration was with swamp rocker Tony Joe White at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970. Powell then joined Jeff Beck Group in April 1970, and recorded two albums with them, 1971s Rough and Ready, and 1972s Jeff Beck Group, until they eventually disbanded. Late 1972 found him teaming up again with the Ball brothers, and this time with singer Frank Aiello, to form Bedlam. They were able to record and release one album, Bedlam, in 1973, and later decided to abandon this project. At around this time, Powell, under the persuasion of Becks studio producer Mickie Most, produced the single Dance with the Devil, which topped the UK singles chart in January 1974. In April 1974, Powell formed Cozy Powells Hammer, which also broke up after a year. Powell then made a short-lived vacation, and discovered his passion for fast cars and motorbikes. It was during this period that he raced on the UK saloon car circuit for Hitachi.

When Powell came back in 1975, he joined Ritchie Blackmores hard rock and heavy metal band Rainbow, replacing drummer Gary Driscoll. Powell stayed with the band for the next five years, during which period Rainbow released their most successful album so far, 1979s Down to Earth LP, featuring the singles Since You Been Gone and All Night Long. Powell then left the band, after headlining at the first ever Monsters of Rock show at Castle Donington, England in August 1980.

Interestingly, Powell was one of the choices for the Led Zeppelin drummer to succeed John Bonham after the latter died in 1980. The band later on fell apart.

When Powell left Rainbow, he collaborated with a number of musicians, one of which is Graham Bonnet, on the album Graham Bonnet & The Hooligans. He also played drums with the bands Michael Schenker Group and Whitesnake. He also teamed up with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake to form Emerson, Lake & Powell, an English rock band as well. He also worked together with Phenomena and Gary Moore. From 1988 to 1991, and 1995 to 1996, Powell joined Black Sabbath, and was instrumental in the recording and release of four albums, Headless Cross, Tyr, Forbidden, and The Sabbath Stones.

Powell set a world record for being the worlds fastest drummer on the BBC childrens show Record Breakers. Using the old name Cozy Powells Hammer, he set up a touring band and performed throughout Europe from 1992 to 1993. He was with bassist Neil Murray, guitarist Mario parga, and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Tony Martin.

Powell and Neil Murray became a part of Brian Mays band, recording on two albums, Back to the Light and Another World. He also opened for Guns N Roses in 1993 along with Brian May. In 1996, Powell and May again worked with returning blues legend Peter Green on his long-awaited comeback tour. Powell did his last recording for Colin Blunstones album, The Light Inside.

Powell died in a car crash in April 1998. He lost control of his car, apparently due to bad weather, on the M4 Motorway towards Bristol, and slammed into the divider of the motorway. Prior to his death, he had to be sidelined from a tour with Yngwie Malmsteen due to a foot injury.

Source by Drew Mers

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