The Cowsills In Books

American Hit Radio: A History of Popular Singles From 1955 to the Present
Thomas Ryan
Prima Lifestyles November 1, 1995


Pages 288-289:
October 1967 #2 The Rain, The Park, And Other Things
The Cowsills
The story of the Cowsills is a shinging example of why some people, upon hearing a hare-brained scheme, will usually say, "I wouldn't sell the farm if I were you."

Bud Cowsill retired from the U.S. Navy in order to dedicate his energies to promoting his four sons in the world of professional music. He also enlisted his wife and four-year-old daughter into the program. Two other sons (this guy has a big family) were taken on as road manager, sound engineer, and sometime instrumentalists. He then proceeded to spend his life savings on musical instruments and promotion. In a phrase, he sold the farm. Deeply in debt to the point of burning furniture for warmth in the wintertime and warding off repossession proceedings on his home, he suddenly saw a ray of hope when MGM agreed to sign the Cowsills.

Artie Kornfeld was a songwriter who was impressed not only with the novelty of the singing family;, but with their genuine talent. (By the way, this is the same Artie Kornfeld who would eventually become one of the principal organizers of the concert event of the centure, Woodstock.) They sang in well-construction harmony could plaiy their own instruments and even wrote much of their own material, a forgotten fact after the sebsequent superstardom of their pretended television clones, the Partridge Family.

The melody is classically brilliant. Exotic instrumentation, including an echoey organ, sound effects, and a very prominent harp, round out the (Five part? Six part? Seven Part? More?) harmonies and make the song a guilty pleasure that is effective far beyond the standard pop confection. It may have been gooey, but it was really good goo.

Most of the Cowsills' subsequent sessions were produced by the tow eldest brothers, Bill and Bob, who also handled much of the songwriting. "We Can Fly" (#21) and "Indian Lake" (#10) followed "The Rain, The Park, And Other Things"

The group's career was capped in March 1969 when their arrangement of the title song from the musical "Hair" sat at the #2 position for two weeks. Bill Cowsill left in May 1969 for a career as a songwriter, and the Cowsills have been inactive as hit makers ever since.

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