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 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.
Powell became a member of The Vendors, a band that guitarist Dave Hill later joined. The Vendors later 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.
Powell was the wit of the group and was considered by Slade's fans to be one of rock's best drummers. 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.
On 4 July 1973, when Slade were 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 Angela 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.
By mid-August Powell was back recording with the group.
When the Top 5 hit "My Friend Stan" was recorded, Powell was still walking
with the aid of a stick and had to be lifted onto his
The accident left Powell with no senses of taste and smell, and to this day
he has severe problems with his short-term
whilst his long-term memory has remained unaffected.