Cozy Powell Dies In Car Crash

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A veteran of the British hard rock scene, drummer Cozy (Collin) Powell died Sunday night in a high speed car crash near Bristol, England. He was 50.

Born Dec. 29, 1947, Powell reportedly slammed his Saab into a crash barrier on Bristol's M4 while driving in excess of 90 mph Sunday night. Powell owned a Ferrari and once briefly quit the music business to pursue an auto racing career.

The one-time backbone for such illustrious bands and artists as Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Whitesnake, Michael Schenker and Peter Green, Powell was one of England's most celebrated and prolific musicians. Shortly before the accident, Polydor Records in England released Best of Cozy Powell, and former Rainbow members Ronnie James Dio and Ritchie Blackmore had begun planning a reunion album with the drummer. That album would have been No. 48 for Powell.

"Musically, he was one of the best drummers we've ever had in this country," producer Mickey Most told the London Times. "He was a great guy and always had a perfect disposition. We had a lot of laughs and he was great fun."

On sabbatical at the time of the accident, Powell recently backed out of a Yngwie Malmsteen tour due to a minor motorcycle accident.