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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.

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, Rovi
full bio

Comments

They made late 60's Corney Psycho Pop, Cool!
Please play Indian lake and MORE COWSILLS!!! They were the first I one I typed in and I am getting everything but them!!!
xfs2
Yes, play more Cowsills songs! This is their channel, right?
Play MORE COWSILLS!!!!
C'mon, please, Pandora, The Cowsills had much more songs than The Flower Girl song, please, play them....
♪♪♪♪♪ Rest in peace, Bill and Barry Cowsill. ♪♪♪♪♪
Great song. I rediscovered it in Dumb and Dumber.
curitiba4lif e 5 0
I wish I was born in England. I'm sick of living here-but the weather is nice here in Cali-AND I LOVE THE FLOWER GIRL-JANIS JOPLIN !!! FLOWER POWER !!!! I hope she made peace with God-or I should say hope she accepted His Peace. At least she wasn't a racist religious right person !!
I am a flower girl and like to think they wrote this song for ME! I'm a hippie girl @ heart who wears flowers in my hair all of the time! :-)
ricktrevino1 9 4 9
HATED the Cowsills back in my HiSkool daze, they WEREN'T ROCK! NOw almost 50 years outta school, they do bring back fond memories of those days.
First concert 1968 @ the Barnum Festival in Bridgeport, CT. Saw the whole entire family reunion at The Taste of RI in 2000. Best harmonies ever. Friendliest people you'd ever want to meet!!
They inspired the Play,HAIR!
One of the few bands that can pull off being Chessy and Cool.. Gotta love The Cowsills
The Princes of Psychodelic POP! Corney in a Cool way!
Dumb and Dumber SHOULD have shown us those boobies...
cudarunner.r a d 9
I was in Navy Boot Camp with Paul in !971. Nicest guy you'd ever want to meet!
I've been a fan since I saw them on Steel Pier in Atlantic City in the 60s. Recently saw them in Boston and they were wonderful! What a great, nostalgic time I had!
I never saw the Cowsills in person. I would love to see them! Hey Cowsills! When are you coming to San Jose, California? You are a great group!!
Me, too, first concert. Hatch Shell, Boston. My parents took four of us kids. Nothin' but fun.
zazzysart
I had no idea they were the inspiration for the Partridge Family...int e r e s t i n g !
hughes_fran_ j
My first concert-Stee l Pier, Atlantic City NJ
I saw them in concert during their hayday and they were musically very, very good. amazing harmony . No one left the concert hall disappointed .
What can one say? This WAS the 60's!
sueb1057
i WAS a flower girl, this song makes me smile....... :)
I love the flower girl!
a pleasant reminder of a less complicated time......
Man what a great way to start a day.
scgoq1
very unrated....1 s t the Cowsills and then CSN&Y.
Case Closed.
sweeet these guys & girls sound just like the monkeys
herecomes2mo r r o w
the are NOT in any way similiar to the monkees!
Susan Cowsill went on to join the Continental Drifters. An excellent 1990's album. She definitley matured musically. Who knew?

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