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

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