The Cowsills In Books

The Billboard Book of No 2 Singles
by Christopher Feldman
Watson-Guptill Publications May 2000


Pages 96-97:
The Rain, The Park, And Other Things

(Kornfeld/Duboff) MGM 11810 Peak Date: December 2, 1967 (2 weeks)
Kept From #1 By: "Daydream Believer" - The Monkees

The motto that the family that plays together, stays together, might have been designed for The Cowsills a family act from Newport, Rhode Island, that combined the rain, the park and other things like a television appearance and a change in record labels into a #2 hit.

The Cowsills began when Bud Cowsill bought a pair of guitars for his sons, Bill and Bob. The two formed an acoustic duo, eventually adding brothers Barry and John to the lineup. Their following was strictly local until a nation morning show happened to catch the act's performance. Bob Cowsill recalled in an exclusive interview, "We were first noticed by a producer for the 'Today' show and asked to come to New York to appear on the show. I was in the 10th grade by now. Bill was a junior in high school, and Barry and John were still in elementary school. The whole focus of the 'Today' show appearance was 'Hey, look at those kids playing rock'n'roll ... and they're brothers.' We were quite a novelty then because of our youth. Johnny Nash was the first phone call from New York as a result of this appearance. Johnny was starting Joda Records, an independent record label, and wanted the Cowsill Brothers to sign. All we knew about Johnny Nash was he sang the theme for 'Hercules' which was good enough for us."

Their first hit, 'Most Of All,' bubbled under the Hot 100 at #118. When their next two songs went nowhere, The Cowsills left the label. Almost immediately, the group entered its biggest success yet. Bob Cowsill remarked in a personal interview, "[Artie Kornfeld] and Steve Duboff had written 'The Rain, The Park and Other Things.' Artie took to the studio and we recorded the song and brought it to MGM. We were signed during my senior year in high school. MGM put $250,000 behind a promotional tour, and it was at this point that they decided to add our mom to the mix. 'The Rain, The Park, and Other Things' became our first million-selling single and we hit the big time."

"The Rain, The Park, and Other Things' debuted at #90 and in its fourth week became the group's first Top 40 hit. Six weeks later, the single climbed to #2, kept from the top spot by The Monkees. To later audiences, the song was probably better known for its use during the dream sequence in the 1990's Jim Carry movie Dumb or Dumber.

The Cowsills' next hit "We Can Fly," was a respectable follow-up, reaching #21. The group's next effort, "In Need Of A Friend," was in need of an audience, stalling at #54, and the family act rebounded with the #10 single "Indian Lake" in 1968. Within a year, the group once again claimed a #2 position with "Hair," a song from one of the most popular musicals of all time.

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