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The sad story of Cozy Powell’s death

Cozy Powell death


The sad story of Cozy Powell’s death

The British drummer Cozy Powell is definitely one of the greatest musicians in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal of all time. He played with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Whitesnake, Michael Schenker Group and Fleetwood Mac. Also having a solid solo career, creating the 1973 instrumental hit “Dance With the Devil”.


The death of Cozy Powell

But unfortunately the musician died too soon, on April 5, 1998 at the age 50. He was killed in a car crash near Bristol, England. Powell was driving his car, a Saab 9000, over 160km/h on a day with bad weather. He driving to his girlfriend’s house because that day she phoned him and asked him to go to her house as soon as he could.

When he was driving to her house, she phoned him asking where he was. He told her he was on his way but then she reportedly heard him say: “Oh shit!” followed by a loud bang.

Cozy Powell car crash

The musician wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and died at the moment. The vehicle crashed into the central reservation barriers located at the M4 highway outside Bristol. Evidence showed that his car had a slow puncture in a rear tyre. So that could have caused a sudden collapse of the tyre with a consequent loss of control of the car. It rolled several times before stopping on a grass verge.A traveler told BBC at the time that he saw Powell’s car “cartwheeling” before it landed on its roof.

Powell’s girlfriend tried to phone him again several times and with no response decided to phone the police. Evidence also showed at the time that his blood-alcohol reading was over the legal limit.

At the time of his death, Powell was also recovering from a foot injury because of a minor motorcycle accident. He had to cancel a Japanese tour with Yngwie Malmsteen at the time.


Cozy Powell was born in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England, back in December 29, 1947. He played with many incredible bands and musicians. Some of them were Rainbow, The Jeff Beck Group, Gary Moore, Brian May, Whitesnake and Graham Bonnet.

His musical career started in the mid-60s, playing in the semi-professional circuit with the band The Sorcerers, which was a Pop band. During the day he used to work at an office in order to buy his first set of Premier drums.

In 1970 he played with Tony Joe White at the Isle Of Wight Festival and in the same year joined the Jeff Beck Group. With the legendary guitarist he recorded two albums: “Rough and Ready” (1971) and “Jeff Beck Group” (1972).

From 1972 to 1973 he was a member of Bedlam and from 1973 to 1975 he worked as a solo artist. That was when he scored the hit “Dance With The Devil”, which peaked at number 3 in the United Kingdom Singles chart.

In 1975 he joined Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow and stayed with the group for five years. He recorded the studio albums: “Rising” (1976), “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll” (1978) and “Down To Earth” (1979). He left the band because Blackmore wanted a more commercial sound, something that Powell had not interest in.

In the following decades he released new studio albums and worked with Michael Schenker Group, Whitesnake, ELP, Black Sabbath and more. One of his final works was with Queen‘s Brian May, on the album “Another World” (1998).

On the 20 years of Cozy’s death in 2018, legendary Queen guitarist Brian May recorded a message talking about the drummer:

“I miss him as brother, we had such an amazing time together and Cozy really gave me the confidence to step outside Queen and do things on my own and with somebody who had great sympathy for where i was at and i felt i had great sympathy for where he was at.”

“We brought our respectives sounds together and boy.., we had some fun. It was just amazing. In the studio and then we did a couple of great tours together,” Brian May said.

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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