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Music Over 40: Remembering Cozy Powell

Updated on February 27, 2013

30 years of excellence

On April 5, 2013 it will be 15 years since English drumming great Cozy Powell lost his life in a car accident on the M4 Motorway. He was never considered a master technician in the league of Neil Peart or Mike Portnoy. He did not have crazy reputation of Keith Moon or the primal pounding of John Bonham. What he did have is a style that is singular and immediately recognizable and his collaborators over the years reads like a who's who of rock and roll

Singers? How about David Coverdale, Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey and Ronnie James Dio. Guitar Players? Just a few guys named Jeff Beck, Tony Iommi, Glenn Tipton, Brian May, Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Gary Moore and Michael Schenker. How about some bass players like Greg Lake, John Entwistle, Roger Glover and Neil Murray, Throw in keyboard legends Jon Lord and Keith Emerson. Quite a lineup.

And musically, there are just as many highlights.

He was the muscle behind two classic releases by Rainbow, "Rising" and "Long Live Rock And Roll". Stargazer bears his indelible stamp with a pounding drum intro, Tarot Woman has hard hitting fills throughout and he provides stellar propulsion on A Light In The Black off "Rising". Middle eastern fills punctuate Gates of Babylon, great cymbal work abounds on Kill The King and adds the funk on LA Connection off "Long Live Rock And Roll".

He backed up Robert Plant on his first solo offering, "Pictures At Eleven", which includes the underrated Like I've Never Been Gone. He lent his heavy hitting to David Coverdale and Whitesnake for their breakthrough album "Slide It In", punctuating favorites like Slow An Easy and Love Aint No Stranger. He plays off Keith Emerson with some monster drum for Emerson Lake & Powell's self title release, making himself known on The Score and Touch and Go.

He lent a hand to sole efforts by Roger Daltrey, Graham Bonnett, Yngwie Malmsteen and Michael Schenker. He played with Black Sabbath. He was part of and odd supergroup trio for Glenn Tiptons "Baptizm by Fire" with John Entwistle. His contributions ran the gamut from Donvan to Jeff Beck, Jon Lord to Peter Green.

His style was not overly fast, but with a very heavy low end, punctuating every hit and really going to work on the snare and floor toms. His drum sound was the model for the reverb heavy drums that became so overdone in the eighties.

Truly English. Truly legendary. A man for all seasons. Not too many come along like him. The rock world is much the better for having him around


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