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2 Jul 2008

Unforgetable People (XXVII): Ray Cooper

Ray Cooper was born 19 August 1942 in Watford, Hertfordshire, and he was playing the piano and drums as a child. His recording career started in the 1960s, recording with The Who. Among his early jobs were America too, Carly Simon, David Essex, Blue Mink and especially Elton John, with he played on most of his '70s albums. He had also played on Nicky Hopkins' 1973 solo album.

Cooper got his short stint with the Stones playing percussion for their 1974 "It's Only Rock and Roll" album. Later in that decade he recorded with George Harrison, Bryan Ferry, Wings and Art Garfunkel among others. Since then he's recorded with Paul McCartney and Elton John again, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, the Traveling Wilburys and Ravi Shankar to name just a few. Recently he also worked on Katie Melua's album "Pictures"(2007).

When Elton declined to our with the band in 1979, he chose Ray to accompaning him in what was called "A Single Man In Concert Plus Ray Cooper", with the condition venues had to be small, and playing in countries they'd never been before, as Israel and USSR. Cooper dressed in black, with granny glasses, joined the show with his frenetic and theatrical session, playing timpani, bongos, cymbals, vibes and gong.

He has also worked in films, producing and performing music in several of Terry Gilliam's productions, and playing small roles such as playing the role of the preacher in the film Popeye (1980), starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall.

Also he played as an actor in the following films: Brazil(1985) as a Technician; Water (1985) in The Singing Rebels' Band and, before, on Bullshot (1983).

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