One of the most prolific and influential drummers in rock history, Cozy Powell was born on December 12 in 1947. Born Colin Flooks in Cirencester, England (90 or so miles northwest of London), Powell got his first kit at the age of 12 and never looked back. He started out playing in the school orchestra (an element that always remained in his approach to the kit) but eventually, like the majority of musicians from his generation, moved on to rock.
His first group was a cover band called The Corals, with whom he had already carved out a spotlight for himself with a signature drum solo and an adopted nickname, Cozy (after jazz drummer Cozy Cole), by the ripe old age of 15.
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 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.
Cozy's 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 and Yngwie Malmsteen, the last two with tours, have seen Cozy Powell back to his busiest and perhaps, his best.
During his career, Cozy Powell played on over 60 albums with some of the greatest artists in rock, including Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, Brian May, John Entwistle, Keith Emerson, Jon Lord, Yngwie Malmsteen and too many others to name. More importantly, he influenced a generation of rock drummers with his dynamic, powerful style. Perhaps Jon Lord put it best when he said, "Playing with Cozy Powell is like a kick in the ass for every musician."
On Sunday night April the 5th, 1998, Cozy Powell was killed in a car crash. It would appear that Cozy was alone in his Saab 9000 when he lost control on the M4 motorway, and crashed between junctions 18 and 19 near Bristol. He died of his injuries in the hospital.