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THE COWSILLS (pop vocal and instrumental quintet)
THE RAIN, THE PARK AND OTHER THINGS, mgm [US/1] The Cowsills' story is an extraordinary one of talent, determination and fortitude. 'America's First Family of Music', as they were known, was a complere family consisting of father, mother, daughter and six sons. Chief Petty Officer Bud Cowsill retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years service in 1963, and decided that his four singing drumming, guitar-playing youngest sons were destined for better things than just local and family oncerts. He teamed them withtheir 'mii-mom', Barbara, and took on his other sons Dick and Paul as road managers and sound engineers. With their then four-year-old sister Susan, they set out into the world of professional music. Father Bud enforced a firm Navy discipine and made the children keep up with their studies, and practice two hours every day to build up their repertoire of some 500 folk, country, pop and rock 'n' roll songs. Nothing however happened for them and the cost of musical instruments, transport and promotion put Bud in debt to the tune of around $100,000. During the winter their old 23-room house on top of one of the few Newport, Rhode Island hills, became neglected with the drive unattended to ward off debt collectors. They even had to chop up furniture for fires when they couldn't get any oil on credit. Just as they were about to lose their home and not knowing which way to turn, Artie Kornfeld, a producer and writer, brought them to Leonard Stogel's personal management firm, who introduced the group to MGM. An album resulted which included "The Rain, the Park and Other Things" (written by S. Duboff and Artie Kornfeld who also produced the disc). When released as a single in September 1967 this soon climbed the U.S. Charts and reached No. 1 for one week wiht 16 weeks in the bestsellers, was a consistent seller for over three months, and awarded a Gold Disc on 19 December by R.I.A.A. for the million sale MGM sent them on a 22-city personal-appearance tour of the West Coast for one month, spending $250,000 on an unprecedented promotional campaign. Their concert at New York's Town Hall on 28 December was reported as one of the year's best pop concerts.
Susan Cowsill (then eight years of age) was also presented and proved to be the cutest eight-year-old in the business, and probably the most talented. 'Mom' Barbara also shone with her folk song number. The group's natural talent rocketed to the forefront, particularly in their blues and rock items. The personnel of the group: Bill Cowsill (vocal), born 9 January 1948, also writer of own lyrics; Bob Cowsill (vocals), born 26 August 1949; Barry Cowsill (vocals and bass guitarist), born 14 September 1954; John Cowsill (drums), born 2 March 1956; Susan Cowsill born 1959; Barbara Cowsill born 1928, who lends her voice to the quartet's close-harmony whenever it is needed
The Cowsills were signed to an exclusive TV contract, with subsequent films and tours.