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.
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 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 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 drum-kit. The accident left Powell with no senses of taste and smell, and to this day he has severe problems with his short-term memory, whilst his long-term memory has remained unaffected.
When Slade split up in 1991 Don Powell owned and operated an antique import/export company before he reconvened the band as Slade II in 1993 with Dave Hill. He has remained active with various line-ups to this day and has released the albums Keep on Rockin' and Cum On Let's Party!. 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.
DON POWELL HOLDS A NEWS BRIEFING WITH COAST GUARD COMMANDANT ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN ABOUT FEDERAL RECOVERY EFFORTS AND 2006 HURRICANE SEASON PREPAREDNESS
Aug 29, 2006; (CORRECTED COPY: ADDS TEXT, AS RELEASED BY THE WHITE HOUSE) DON POWELL AND VICE ADMIRAL ALLEN HOLD A NEWS BRIEFING TO DISCUSS...