Cozy Cole

Cozy Cole

Photo by Ralph F. Seghers
Background information
Birth name William Randolph Cole
Born (1909-10-17)October 17, 1909
East Orange, New Jersey, United States
Died January 9, 1981(1981-01-09) (aged 71)
Columbus, Ohio, United States
Genres Swing
Occupation(s) Drummer
Instruments Drums
Years active 1930s — 1970s
Associated acts Cab Calloway
Blanche Calloway
Benny Carter
Stuff Smith
Willie Bryant
Raymond Scott
Louis Armstrong

William Randolph "Cozy" Cole (October 17, 1909 – January 9, 1981)[1] was an American jazz drummer who scored a #1 Cashbox magazine hit with the songs "Topsy I" and "Topsy II". "Topsy II" peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and at #1 on the R&B chart.[2] It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[3] The track peaked at #29 in the UK Singles Chart in 1958.[1] 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 also struck the Hot 100 with "Turvy II", which made it as high as #36 in the chart for the week ending January 4, 1959.[4]

William Randolph Cole was born in 1909 in East Orange, New Jersey. His first music job was with Wilbur Sweatman in 1928. In 1930 he played for Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers, 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 1970s Cole continued to perform in a variety of settings. Cole and Gene Krupa often played drum duets at the Metropole in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s.

He 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.


Discography (partial)

As a Leader


With Red Allen

With Dizzy Gillespie


Year Titles (A-side, B-side) Chart positions Album
1958 "Topsy I" / 27 29 Cozy Cole Hits!
"Topsy II" 3 1 29
"Caravan" -- Part 1
b/w Part 2
Original version
Cozy's Caravan
"Turvy II"
b/w "Turvy I"
36 Cozy Cole Hits!
"St. Louis Blues"
b/w "Father Cooperates"
Non-album tracks
"Caravan" -- Part 1
b/w Part 2
After Hours
b/w "Late and Lazy"
Cozy Cole Hits!
1959 "Bad"
b/w "(Everything Is) Topsy-Turvy"
b/w "Blop-Down"
Cozy Cole
""D" Natural Rock"
b/w "Strange"
b/w "Melody Of A Dreamer"
"Stained Glass"
b/w "D'Mitri"
1960 "Ala Topsy 3"
b/w "Ala Topsy 4"
Non-album tracks
"Cozy's Mambo"
b/w "Play Cozy Play"
"Teen Age Ideas"
b/w "Blockhead" (Non-album track)
Cozy Cole
"Drum Fever"
b/w "Bag Of Tricks"
Non-album tracks
"Red Ball"
b/w "Cozy's Corner"
"Ha-Ha Cha-Cha"
b/w "The Pogo Hop"
1961 "Bad"
b/w "(Wow! Let's Rock That) Charleston"
1962 "Cozy's Groove" -- Part 1
b/w Part 2
"Big Noise From Winnetka" -- Part 1
b/w Part 2
121 It's A Cozy World
1963 "Cozy and Bossa"
b/w "Big Boss"
Non-album tracks
"Indian Love Call" -- Part 1
b/w Part 2
It's A Cozy World
"Rockin' Drummer"
b/w "Sing Sing Sing (With A Swing)"
1964 "Topsy" -- Part 1
b/w Part 2
"North Beach"
b/w "A Cozy Beat"
1966 "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"
b/w "Watch It"
It's A Rocking Thing!


  1. 1 2 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 114. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 126.
  3. Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 99. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  4. "The Billboard Hot 100", Billboard, 1958-12-29, retrieved 2016-01-30

External links

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