Don Powell

Donald George Powell (born 10 September 1946) is an English musician who was the drummer for glam rock and later hard rock group Slade for over fifty years.

Don Powell
Don Powell Book Signing.jpg
Powell signing copies of his biography Look Wot I Dun - My Life in Slade at Liverpool One's Waterstones in 2014
Background information
Birth nameDonald George Powell
Born (1946-09-10) 10 September 1946 (age 73)
Bilston, Staffordshire, England
GenresGlam rock, hard rock
InstrumentsDrums, percussion
Years active1960s–present
Associated actsSlade

Early lifeEdit

As a child Powell joined the Boy Scouts where he became interested in the drums after being asked to join the band on a Sunday morning parade. After attending Etheridge Secondary Modern School he studied Metallurgy at Wednesbury Technical College. Powell then worked as a metallurgist in a small foundry before turning professional as a drummer. He was athletic and a keen amateur boxer, although an easy going personality, and apparently had his nose broken three times. It was he who was sent around with the hat money collection amongst early audiences.

Powell became a member of The Vendors, a band that guitarist Dave Hill later joined. The Vendors became the N'Betweens and bass guitarist / keyboard player / violinist / guitarist Jim Lea got in at an audition. Powell then spotted Noddy Holder playing with Steve Brett & The Mavericks and he and Hill got Holder to join the N'Betweens. They regrouped as Ambrose Slade, changed the name to Slade and the success began. It always amused them that they played their first rehearsal on 1 April.

Song writingEdit

He co-wrote a number of Slade's earlier songs, mainly with Lea. Many of them can be found on the 1970 Slade album Play it Loud. He also co-wrote one of Slade's Top 10 hits "Look Wot You Dun" with Holder and Lea in 1972, and made the breathing noises in the background of the song.

Drum choiceEdit

Powell started drumming on a borrowed Olympic kit as a youngster. He moved up to a deep blue Hayman set for his work with Slade until the early 1970s. From there he changed to Ludwig, but in the mid-2000s he switched to Pearl as the original Ludwig firm had changed ownership. Currently he states he likes a four-piece kit with a shallow snare drum.


On 4 July 1973, when Slade were popular in Europe and number one in the UK Singles Chart with "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me", Powell was badly injured in a serious car crash in Wolverhampton, in which his 20-year-old girlfriend/fiancée Angela Morris[1] was killed. He broke both of his ankles and five of his ribs. Surgeons had to drill into his skull to ease the internal pressure and he was unconscious for six days but he came round and eventually pulled through, finding the best therapy to be work.[2][3] Powell left hospital on 30 July[4] and by mid-August was back recording with the group. When the Top 5 hit "My Friend Stan" was recorded, Powell was walking with the aid of a stick and had to be lifted onto his drum-kit. The accident left Powell with no senses of taste and smell, and he still has severe problems with his short-term memory, whilst his long-term memory has remained unaffected.

Post-Slade careerEdit

When Slade split up in 1992 Powell owned and operated an antique import/export company before he reconvened the band as Slade II later that year with Dave Hill. He remained active with various line-ups. In 1994, the band released the album Keep on Rockin'. The name of the band was shortened back to Slade in 1997. In 2000 Powell had a small cameo role in the BBC TV version of Lorna Doone.

Powell has been married twice and for a number of years he lived in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, England. In 2004 he moved to Silkeborg, Denmark where he now lives with his Danish wife Hanna.

In December 2005, Powell appeared in the Channel 4 TV documentary Bring Back...The Christmas Number One.

A long-time fan of Ringo Starr, Powell contributed the foreword to the 2016 book Ringo Starr And The Beatles Beat by Alex Cain and Terry McCusker. As the drummer with Colonel Bagshot, McCusker toured with Slade in the 1970s and the two have remained firm friends.

Powell is now one-third of the group Quatro Scott Powell (QSP) alongside Suzi Quatro and Sweet guitarist Andy Scott. Don has played at two of Scott's 'Concert At The Kings' events at All Cannings in Wiltshire, and in 2017 he contributed towards a BBC Radio Wiltshire documentary of the life of former Status Quo guitarist and front man Rick Parfitt.

In late 2019, Powell's side project, Don Powell's Occasional Flames featuring Les Glover - lead vocals and guitars and Paul Cookson lyrics and poetry, released their first album and single which charted on several download sites, the highest position being 23 on Amazon chart.[citation needed]

In February 2020, Powell announced that he had been fired by email by Dave Hill and would be forming Don Powell's Slade to perform Slade songs.[5]


Powell collaborated with Lise Lyng Falkenberg on his biography since 2006, in part using the notebooks and diaries he kept due to his problems with short term memory following his 1973 accident.[1] The biography, titled Look Wot I Dun - My Life in Slade was released via the publisher Music Sales Ltd on 14 October 2013. It looks in detail at Slade's long career and Powell's life, which included booze-ups with Ozzy Osbourne.[6] Additionally in 2013, Powell created his own website, and in early 2014 he published his diary entries for 1977 and 1978.[7][8][9]


  1. ^ a b Bradley, Steve (16 March 2010). "Slade drummer Don Powell prepares to publish his biography". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  2. ^ Webb, Julie (4 August 1973). "Road to recovery". New Musical Express. pp. 8–9.
  3. ^ "Gary James' Interview with Don Powell of Slade". Retrieved 12 December 2009.
  4. ^ Daily Mirror - 31 July 1973
  5. ^ Ben Beaumont-Thomas. "Slade drummer Don Powell 'fired by email' after 57-year partnership". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  6. ^ "'Look Wot I Dun: Don Powell of Slade' by Don Powell & Lise Lyng Falkenberg". Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  7. ^ "News Page". Don Powell Official Website. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Don's 1977 Diary". Don Powell Official Website. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Don's 1978 Diary". Don Powell Official Website. Retrieved 25 July 2014.