The Cowsills In Books

The American family on television: a chronology of 121 shows, 1948-2004
by Marla Brooks
McFarland & Co., 2005


Page 89:
The real-life inspiration behind The Partridge Family were the Cowsills, a family comprised of teen siblings Bill, Bob, Barry, John, Susan and Paul. In tandem with mom Barbara, they were one of the biggest pop acts of the late 1960s, with a series of hits including "The Rain, the Park and Other Things." In 1969, the group scored their biggest chart entry with the title song from the rock musical Hair. Around that same time Columbia Pictures' television division sent a group of screenwriters to observe the Cowsills'daily lives for a possible series based on their story, but the show never panned out. By the time The Partridge Family hit the airwaves in 1970, the Cowsills' career was on the decline, and in the wake of the 1971 LP "On My Side," the group disbanded.

Music played an integral role in the lives of most teenagers in the 1970s and the Partridge kids, who lived at 698 Sycamore Road, San Pueblo, California, were no exception. Like many of their peers, they decided to form their own rock 'n' roll band. Their only problem was they didn't have a vocalist, so on a lark, they asked their widowed mother to sit in one afternoon on an impromptu recording session. (According to the pilot episode, Shirley's husband, whose first name has never been revealed, "died suddenly six months previously." His cause of death was also never revealed and he was rarely mentioned again. .....

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