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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

    Oldies Party

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

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