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The story of how Cozy Powell became Rainbow’s drummer

Cozy Powell


The story of how Cozy Powell became Rainbow’s drummer

After leaving Deep Purple, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was searching for a drummer for his new band named Rainbow and he wasn’t very happy with the musicians he auditioned. In an interview with Joe Geesin back in 1996, legendary drummer Cozy Powell recalled how he became the band’s drummer.


The story of how Cozy Powell became Rainbow’s drummer:

“I was number 80, or 77 or something like that. I’ve heard some funny stories about Ritchie being difficult with drummers. Apparently this one guy came along, set the drum kit up, looked the part, got his suitcase out and changed next to the kit with this all black kind of outfit and black gloves.”

“Eventually gets up and says he’s ready and Ritchie says ‘Get rid of him’. This poor guy doesn’t even play a note. I remember that audition. So I got a phonecall on the Wednesday night from my tour manager and got the plane to L.A. in the morning. Off the plane, check into the hotel and straight down to the audition. No time no nothing and a kit I’ve never even seen before.”

“There were about 100 people in this sound stage looking at me like a golden boy they’ve just flown over from England at great expense. The first thing he said to me was ‘Can you play a shuffle?’ How about this and BANG! started playing this shuffle and 20 minutes later ‘You’ve got the job’.”


In the same interview, Cozy Powell praised the Rainbow “Rising” (1976) album saying it was one of the best albums he ever done in his career.


Born in Cirencenter, England back in December 29, 1947 he played with legendary bands like Rainbow, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. His solo career song “Dance with the Devil “ was the biggest English hit in 1973.

Powell began his professional career in 1965 with The Sorcerers, eventually playing with Jeff Beck after he left the Yardbirds. In 1971, he formed Bedlam, but abandoned this project to produce singles such as “Dance with the Devil”. He later formed Cozy Powell’s Hammer, which broke up in 1975.

Then he joined Rainbow. Always in high demand, he alternated his work between studio sections and live concerts with a wide variety of bands such as Michael Schenker Group, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath never remaining in any band for long. In 1998, he worked on a long tour with Fleetwood Mac. In 1998 at the age of 50 he died in a tragic car accident.

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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