Cozy Cole

William Randolph "Cozy" Cole (October 17, 1909 – January 9, 1981)[1] was an American jazz drummer who had hits with the songs "Topsy I" and "Topsy II". "Topsy II" peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and at No. 1 on the R&B chart.[2] It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.[3] The track peaked at No. 29 in the UK Singles Chart in 1958.[1] The recording contained a long drum solo and was one of the few drum solo recordings to make the charts at Billboard magazine. The single was issued by Love Records, a small record label in Brooklyn, New York. Cole's song "Turvy II" reached No. 36 in 1959.[4]

Cozy Cole
Photo by Ralph F. Seghers
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Randolph Cole
Born(1909-10-17)October 17, 1909
East Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedJanuary 9, 1981(1981-01-09) (aged 71)
Columbus, Ohio
Years active1930s–1970s
Associated actsCab Calloway, Blanche Calloway, Benny Carter, Stuff Smith, Willie Bryant, Raymond Scott, Louis Armstrong

Life and career

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 performed with Louis Armstrong and his All Stars with Velma Middleton singing vocals for the famed ninth Cavalcade of Jazz concert held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. The concert was produced by Leon Hefflin, Sr. on June 7, 1953. Also featured that day were Roy Brown and his Orchestra, Don Tosti and His Mexican Jazzmen, Earl Bostic, Nat "King" Cole, and Shorty Rogers and his Orchestra.[5][6]

Cole appeared in music-related films, including a brief cameo in Don't Knock the Rock. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s he 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.

Cole is cited as an influence by many contemporary rock drummers, including Cozy Powell, who took his nickname "Cozy" from Cole. In 1981, he died of cancer in Columbus, Ohio.


  • 1955 Cozy Cole
  • 1956 After Hours
  • 1958 Topsy (Love)
  • 1959 The Drummer Man with the Big Beat (King)
  • 1961 A Cozy Conception of Carmen (Blue Moon)
  • 1962 Drum Beat Dancing Feet (Coral)
  • 1964 It's a Cozy World (Coral)
  • 1974 French Festival (Nice, France 1974)
  • 1977 Lionel Hampton Presents Louis Armstrong Alumni (Who's Who in Jazz)[7]

With Red Allen

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Cass Harrison

  • Wrappin' It Up (MGM, 1957)


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. 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
  5. “More Big Names in Cavalcade” Article Los Angeles Sentinel May 21, 1953.
  6. “Satchmo Band Spice To Open Air Show” Article Los Angeles Sentinel May 28, 1953.
  7. "Cozy Cole | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  8. "Music Database: Cozy Cole". Radio Swiss Jazz.
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