Drummers / Percussionists
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BIOGRAPHY

Cozy Cole

Cozy Cole, born William Randolph Cole on October 17, 1909 in East Orange, New Jersey, was an American jazz drummer, best known for being a big influence by numerous contemporary rock drummers.

In 1958, Cole recorded a instrumental song, "Topsy," and released it as a two-part single. Topsy - Part 1 (Side A) peaked at #3 on Billboard Hot 100, and at #1 on the R&B chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The track peaked at No. 29 in the UK Singles Chart in 1958. The recording contained a lengthy drum solo, and was one of the few drum solo recordings that ever made the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The single was issued on the tiny Brooklyn-based Love Records label. Cole scored a #1 Cashbox magazine hit with Topsy Part 2 (Side B).

Cozy Cole worked with the likes of Wilbur Sweatman (1928), Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers (1930) recording an early drum solo on "Load of Cole". He spent 1931–33 with Blanche Calloway, 1933-34 with Benny Carter, 1935-36 with Willie Bryant, 1936-38 with Stuff Smith's small combo, and 1938-42 with Cab Calloway. In 1942, he was hired by CBS Radio music director Raymond Scott as part of network radio's first mixed-race orchestra. After that he played with Louis Armstrong's All Stars.

Cole appeared in music-related films, including a brief cameo in Don't Knock the Rock. Throughout the 1960s and '70s Cole continued to perform in a variety of settings. Cole and Gene Krupa often played duets at the Metropole in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s.

Cozy Cole died of cancer in 1981, in Columbus, Ohio.

Cole is cited as an influence by many contemporary rock drummers, including Cozy Powell, who took his nickname "Cozy" from Cole.


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