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The Cowsills

 

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.


The Cowsills' musical interest started while their father Bud Cowsill was stationed in Canton, Ohio, in the late 1950s as a US Navy recruiter. Billy and Bob taught themselves how to play the guitar. The boys developed their musical talent and harmonized vocals, and they performed at school church dances in Stark County, Ohio. The boys' first television appearance was on the Gene Carroll Show on WEWS in Cleveland.

After Bud retired from Navy he and his wife managed their children's career.

In late 1965, the Cowsills were hired as a regular act on Bannisters Wharf in Newport, where they sang Beatles songs hour after hour. A handful of singles were released on JODA Records and Philips Records in 1965 and 1966, to only modest success. After Leonard Stogel took over management of the band, he got them signed to MGM records in 1967, and Barbara, who would become known to their fans affectionately as "Mini-Mom" due to her diminutive stature, joined the group just in time to record the band's first album, including the hit single "The Rain, The Park & Other Things" . It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold record. Bill sang lead vocal on this hit. Shortly thereafter the band was expanded yet again, to include siblings Susan and Paul.

With the success of "The Rain...", the band quickly became a popular act in the U.S., and achieved significant airplay in England and other parts of Europe. "The Rain, The Park and Other Things" reached No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100.


The Cowsills were a singing group from Newport, Rhode Island, specializing in what would later be defined as bubblegum pop. The band was formed in the spring of 1965 by four brothers—Barry, Bill, Bob, and John Cowsill. After their initial success, the brothers were later joined by their siblings Susan and Paul and their mother, Barbara. Bob's twin brother, Richard, did not sing with the group, but he did serve as a road manager.

50s, 60s Hits

The Rain, The Park And Other Things

Members of this Group


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