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The Cowsills

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The real-life inspiration behind the hit television series The Partridge Family, the Cowsills -- comprised of teen siblings Bill, Bob, Barry, John, Susan, and Paul in tandem with mother Barbara -- were one of the biggest pop acts of the late '60s, scoring a series of hits including "The Rain, the Park and Other Things" and "Hair" with their angelic harmonies and sun-kissed melodies. The group's origins lie with Bill and Bob, who as children began their singing careers covering Everly Brothers hits. Given guitars by their father, Navy man William "Bud" Cowsill, the siblings soon recruited younger brothers Barry and John to play bass and drums, respectively, and as Beatlemania dawned, the teen foursome began performing live at school dances and church socials throughout their native Newport, RI. Soon, the Cowsills landed a regular weekend gig at the local club Bannisters Wharf, and in 1967 recorded the single "All I Really Wanta Be Is Me" for the Joda label. The record generated little response, however, and after an appearance on NBC's The Today Show, the group signed to Mercury Records, where they issued three more singles to negligible interest. Mercury producer Artie Kornfeld remained convinced of the Cowsills' commercial appeal, however, and set up another recording date independent of the label. This time, however, he convinced their siblings' mother, Barbara, to contribute vocals to the session, which yielded the stunning "The Rain, the Park and Other Things." With their wholesome family image serving as a marketing godsend, Kornfeld sealed a deal with MGM, which issued the single in the fall of 1967; it eventually rose to number two on the national charts, selling over a million copies in the process. The Cowsills' self-titled debut LP soon followed, and with the title track from 1968's We Can Fly, the family scored their second hit, in the meantime adding two more siblings -- sister Susan and brother Paul -- to the lineup. "Indian Lake" reached the Top Ten later that year, and in 1969 the group scored its biggest chart entry with the title song from the rock musical Hair. Around that same time, Columbia Pictures' television division dispatched a group of screenwriters to observe the Cowsills' daily lives for a possible series based on their story. The show never panned out, but was later fictionalized as The Partridge Family. By the time The Partridge Family hit the airwaves in 1970, however, the Cowsills' career was on the decline, and in the wake of the 1971 LP On My Side, the group disbanded. That same year, Bill Cowsill (who was briefly considered to replace Brian Wilson in the Beach Boys' touring lineup) issued a solo LP, Nervous Breakthrough, but otherwise the siblings were musically inactive for much of the decade. In the late '70s, Bob, John, Susan, and Paul recorded a batch of original material with producer Chuck Plotkin, but the sessions were never unreleased. Barbara Cowsill died on January 31, 1985, and her children spent the '90s in regaining some of their former musical prominence. Barry mounted a solo career, Bill founded the country group the Blue Shadows, and Susan joined the Continental Drifters, an all-star New Orleans-via-Los Angeles combo also featuring her husband, ex-dB Peter Holsapple, and onetime Bangle Vicki Peterson. In 1994, the "core four" -- Bob, John, Susan, and Paul -- contributed a newly recorded Cowsills track, "Is It Any Wonder," to the Yellow Pills, Vol. 1 pop compilation. A new studio album, Global, followed in 1998. When Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans on August 29, 2005, Susan and her family had already evacuated the area. However, brother Barry -- also a New Orleans resident at the time -- had not. Susan had received a phone call from Barry as late as September 1. The family searched for any sign of him for four months before his body was recovered and identified on December 28. Another death followed in 2006, when Bill passed away in February at the age of 58 after lingering health issues. ~ Jason Ankeny
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Stations Featuring
The Cowsills

    Classic Summer Songs

    Classic Summer Songs
    2 songs

    '60s Oldies

    '60s Oldies
    1 song

    Oldies Hits

    Oldies Hits
    1 song

Albums by
The Cowsills

Top Songs by
The Cowsills

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   The Rain, The Park and Other Things
  3.   Indian Lake
  4.   Hair
  5.   Love, American Style
  6.   We Can Fly
  7.   The Path of Love
  8.   On My Side
  9.   How Can I Make You See
  10.   Contact Mae
  11.   Prophecy of Daniel and John the Divine (Six-Six-Six)
  12.   Yesterday's Girl
  13.   Silver Threads and Golden Needles
  14.   Dover Mine
  15.   Heather Says
  16.   Dreams of Linda
  17.   I Need a Friend
  18.   There Is a Child
  19.   Mystery of Life
  20.   If You Can't Have It--Knock It
  21.   11 X 11
  22.   Painting the Day
  23.   The Fantasy World of Harry Faversham
  24.   Make the Music Flow
  25.   Walk Away Renee
  26.   Gotta Get Away from It All
  27.   Mister Flynn
  28.   In Need of a Friend
  29.   Who Can Teach the Songbird How to Sing
  30.   La Rue du Soleil
  31.   Captain Sad and His Ship of Fools
  32.   (Stop, Look) Is Anyone There?
  33.   The Bridge
  34.   River Blue
  35.   Pennies
  36.   (Come 'Round Here) I'm the One You Need
  37.   Troubled Roses
  38.   That's My Time of Day
  39.   Down on the Farm
  40.   Thinkin' About the Other Side
  41.   One Man Show
  42.   The Cruel War
  43.   Act Naturally
  44.   Hello, Hello
  45.   Please Mr. Postman
  46.   Gray, Sunny Day
  47.   Cheatin' on Me
  48.   Paperback Writer
  49.   Newspaper Blanket
  50.   Monday, Monday
  51.   Once There Was a Time
  52.   Good Vibrations
  53.   Can You Love?
  54.   Sunshine of Your Love
  55.   Reach Out (I'll Be There)
  56.   Ask the Children
  57.   Good Golly Miss Molly/Devil With a Blue Dress On
  58.   What Is Happy, Baby
  59.   Heaven Held
  60.   Thinking of You
  61.   Beautiful Beige
  62.   Gettin' Into That Sunny, Sunny Feelin' Again
  63.   A Time for Remembrance
  64.   Meet Me at the Wishing Well
  65.   Good Ole Rock & Roll Song
  66.   Christmastime
  67.   Most of All
  68.   Poor Baby
  69.   When Everybody's Here
  70.   Can't Measure the Cost of a Woman Lost

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