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
William Randolph "Cozy" Cole (October 17, 1909 – January 9, 1981) 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. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The track peaked at #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. 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.
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.
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As a Leader
- Cozy Cole Hits! (Love Records-1959)
- A Cozy Conception of Carmem (Charlie Parker Records-1962)
- Cozy Cole 1944 (The Chronological Classics)
With Red Allen
- Red Allen, Kid Ory & Jack Teagarden at Newport (Verve, 1957)
With Dizzy Gillespie
- The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (Bluebird, 1937-1949, )
- 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.
- "The Billboard Hot 100", Billboard, 1958-12-29, retrieved 2016-01-30