Drummer Cozy Powell Dies In Car Crash

Drummer Cozy (Collin) Powell has died in a high speed car crash near Bristol, England. The prolific Powell, 50, was touted as one of Britain's best players after stints with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Whitesnake, Michael Schenker, Peter Green, the ELP spin-off Emerson, Lake and Powell, and his own Cozy Powell's Hammer among many others.

A source close to Powell says the drummer, who once briefly quit the music business to go full time into auto racing, was apparently alone in his Saab Sunday night (he also owns a Ferrari) travelling well in excess of 90 mph when he crashed into the center divider.

Just a few weeks previously, Powell had been forced to cancel a Japanese tour with Yngwie Malmsteen because of a minor motorcycle accident that led to a foot injury.

The always cheerful Powell was also one of the best liked performers on the circuit. "He was a nice guy making his living out of music and having a good time," his publicist told the "London

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

Powell had achieved notoriety as a solo performer as well as a band player. Polydor in England recently released the "Best of Cozy Powell" which included tracks from his three solo albums. Most recently, Powell had been in discussions regarding a reunion of Rainbow with former bandmates Ronnie James Dio and Ritchie Blackmore. He recorded four albums with that band. That project is now on hold.