The Cowsills In Books

Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969
by Bob Spitz
July 29, 2014


Page 24-25:
Artie married a girl from Forest Hills several years younger than he, with whom he had been going steady, and decided to look for security. He accepted a job as director of Artists and Repertoire for Mercury Records, and stumbled across a family act named the Cowsills whom he thought had immeasurable potential as superstars. He contacted his current writing collaborator, told him about the group, and together they sat down to write a hit for the Cowsills.

They wanted to write a “flower song” to commemorate what was happening on the West Coast. That spring of 1967, a youth crusade for peace and love was emerging from San Francisco’s rock underground and was spreading eastward. Everyone, young and old, was seduce by its ingenuous rallying cry: “Flower Power!” It can’t miss, they agreed.

The lyric that emerged from their collaboration entitled “Rain, the Park, and Other Things,” was about falling in love with a young hippie girl and was originally planned as a ballad:

I love the flower girl
Oh I don’t know just why
She simply caught my eye,
I love the flower girl,
She seemed to have the way
To find a sunny day.

The song was an immediate hit and Artie left Mercury to enter into an independent production deal with the Cowsills, for which he also received a percentage of the management and control of their music-publishing interests. He stayed with them through 1968, producing and writing the group’s material. When he left, he emerged from his Cowsill Connection independently wealthy; he had produced two triumphant albums on the heels of successive gold singles for them and would continue to earn royalties from the existing product on the market. Therefore, earning a livelihood didn’t appear to be a problem; a spate of related projects would see him handily through the next few years. Soon thereafter, however, his old friend Charlie Koppelman, who had also been making a name for himself producing teen-oriented acts for various labels, insisted upon introducing Artie to Alan Livingston, who, at the time, was the president of Capitol Records.

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