Photo by Ralph F. Seghers
|Birth name||William Randolph Cole|
October 17, 1909|
East Orange, New Jersey, United States
|Died||January 9, 1981
Columbus, Ohio, United States
|Years active||1930s — 1970s|
|Associated acts||Cab Calloway
Cozy Cole (October 17, 1909 – January 9, 1981) was an American jazz drummer who scored a #1 Cashbox magazine hit with the record "Topsy Part 2". "Topsy" peaked at number three on Billboard Hot 100, and at number one 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.
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 '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.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 114. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 126.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 99. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- Drummerworld: Cozy Cole - includes video and sound clips
- Cozy Cole on Continental Records in the 1940s