Percussionist to the stars who has performed with a
who’s who of The British Invasion, including The Who, with whom he
started his prolific career in the ‘60s. He followed this by collaborating with
Elton John on most of his 1970s albums, an artistic collaboration that
continued well into the ‘90s.
Cooper befriended The Rolling Stones when he performed
on their 1974 release, It’s
Only Rock and Roll, and went on to contribute his energetic percussive
talents to Bill Wyman’s 1981 solo effort and 1997’s Struttin’ Our Stuff, and Mick
Jagger’s 1985 release, She’s
So enamoured of Ray was Elton that in the 1970s, and
later on in the ‘90s, Elton went on a “solo” tour that
included Ray. This included
Elton’s groundbreaking Russia concerts in 1979. Ray also appeared in concert with
Elton and Billy Joel on their Face To
Face tour in 1994 and 1995.
In 2002, he appeared in and produced the Concert for George.
Ray branched out into film in the ‘70s when he
performed on the soundtracks of Tommy
and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts
Club Band. He became even
more involved in the ‘80s and ‘90s thanks to a creative
partnership with Terry Gilliam, acting as Music Producer for The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
(in which he also played a functionary) and A Private Function.
He also composed music for Brazil
(in which he played a technician), Monty
Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, and Time Bandits, and appeared as the preacher in the 1980 musical
The list of artists and groups he has worked with
would cover his drum set in small print, but includes Joan Armatrading,
Liona Boyd, Eric Clapton, Ian Dury, Yvonne Elliman, Herbie Flowers, Art
Garfunkel, Nicky Hopkins, INXS, Davy Johnstone, Linda Lewis, Paul McCartney
& Wings, Harry Nilsson, Roy Orbison, Pink Floyd, Chris Rea, Carly
Simon, Ringo Starr, Ali Thompson, Jeff Wayne, and The Wombles.
Ray is still active in the recording studio, and
recently appeared on Katie Melua’s 2007 release, Pictures.