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Bill Ward’s opinion on Cozy Powell


Bill Ward’s opinion on Cozy Powell

Although the most famous and successful line-up Black Sabbath ever had was formed by the original members Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Ward, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi, the band had many other incredible artists in the following decades. The changes started after Ozzy was fired in the late 70s and became frequent after Geezer and Ward left in the 80s, leaving the guitarist Tony Iommi as the only original member during many eras of the group.


Besides Bill Ward, another legendary drummer who was a member of Black Sabbath was the late Cozy Powell. When he joined the band in 1988 he had already had a solo hit in the early 70s and played in bands like Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Whitesnake and Gary Moore.

But what was the opinion of the original Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward on Cozy Powell?

Bill Ward’s opinion on Cozy Powell

Although Cozy Powell became one of his replacements in Black Sabbath, Bill Ward had a deep respect for him and believed he was a great drummer. He shared that opinion back in 2008 on his official website, paying tribute to the drummer on the 10th anniversary of his tragic death.

“It’s been ten years since Cozy died. I think about him from time to time. I’ve always been grateful that our last phone conversation ended on a high note. I felt we were both sincere with each other, sharing mutual respect when touching on our individual histories in Hard Rock/Metal.”

“Over the years, death has sometimes come quickly to old friends, and I’ve felt the pain and dilemma of not returning a phone call as I would have liked to, but didn’t; not being able to say a proper good-bye in life; being upset, or undone, or unresolved from the last conversation, then feeling the loss of that end.”

Bill Ward continued:

“With Cozy, I felt we had the perfect ending conversation. We talked from the heart. In hindsight, our conversation seems gift-like, fitting perfectly into the great order of things. Cozy died about ten days after he and I spoke, maybe sooner, I’m not sure.

“OK. Drum students – listen to this man. Check out the band Rainbow. Listen to “Stargazer.” Cozy is a master. Listen to the top of the song – that’s Cozy Powell playing. Discover this giant of Rock drumming. He lives forever on records and in our hearts. Thanks, Coze – nice work,” Bill Ward said.

Bill Ward once had to learn the songs Cozy Powell recorded with Black Sabbath

Back in 1994 the original line-up of Black Sabbath would get back together for a few shows in South America but Ozzy Osbourne ended up not signing the contract. Iommi, Geezer and Bill Ward ended up touring with Tony Martin on vocals and Ward was forced to learn the songs of the Martin era, which were originally recorded by Cozy Powell.

He recalled that in an interview with Sabbath Live back in 2009. “(After Ozzy quit) there was this offer on the table: The ‘Tonys’ (Tony Martin and Tony Iommi. Those who had been called Sabbath), had an opportunity to go to South America to tour. I hadn’t played for a long long time. I knew some of the Sabbath songs but I didn’t know all the other songs on which Tony Martin and Tony Iommi had been working on. So there were some songs on which I had absolutely no clue. I worked real hard to study them and get them into shape for that tour.”

Bill Ward continued:

“I think I failed pretty miserably in getting the songs the way that Cozy had played them… I play like Bill, I can’t play like anybody else! And that was an unexpected opportunity. I wasn’t able to put all my things together at time for those first gigs. So I really had to feel my way through those songs.”

“I tried to learn them with the amount of time that we had. I tried to learn them to the best of my ability. And guess what? When I was doing those gigs, as much as I like Tony Martin who’s a real nice guy, the same thing happened again. I was onstage with a singer that wasn’t Ozzy. And just as it had happened before in 1984 with David Donato. It just didn’t feel the same,” Bill Ward said.

Cozy Powell in Black Sabbath

Cozy Powell joined Sabbath in 1988, recording the album “Headless Cross” (1989) and “Tyr” (1990). In 1991 he left the band to open room for the reunion of the bands’ last successful line-up with Butler, Dio and Vinny Appice. During the reunion, that formation only recorded the 1992 album “Dehumanizer”. It was over after Iommi and Geezer accepted to be Ozzy’s opening act, which made Dio quit the group and Appice also leave soon after.

So in 1992, Iommi brought the singer Tony Martin back and in 1994, Cozy Powell also returned. Alongside bassist Neil Murray and keyboardist Geoff Nichols they recorded the album “Forbidden”, released in 1995.

The drummer was tragically killed at the age of 50 in a car accident in 1998.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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