Don’t look to the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame for a sophomore slump. The organization has a second-year roster of inductees that have, among other things, inspired Oscar-winning Hollywood biopics (George M. Cohan), shared stages with Louis Armstrong (Bobby Hackett), sang in Par and St. Petersburg (Sissieretta Jones) and appeared on TV shows ranging from The Ed Sullivan Show (the Cowsills) to Family Guy (Steve Smith & the Nakeds). Together , they present a glorious symphony of rockabilly, blues, R&B, opera, show tunes, “sunshine pop,” and jazz. And let’s not forget the hall’s first non-musician inductee: Phoenix/NewPaper alum, MTV executive and man of (musical) letters, Bill Flanagan.
You can welcome the Class of 2013 on Sunday, April 28 during a two-part induction extravaganza at the hall’s home in Pawtucket’s Hope Artist Village. There will be an afternoon ceremony at the Met from 2 to 4 pm, and a second ceremony and concert – emceed by the Phoenix’s own Rudy Cheeks (Jorge of Phillipe and Jorge) – at 7 p.m. (Tickets for the afternoon event are $10; the evening festivities are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.) You may want to study up before then, though, lest you confuse Eddie Zack with Bobby Hackett or Jimmie Crane with Bill Cowsill. Here’s your Cheat Sheet.
Who |Bob, Susan, Paul, John, Bill, Barry, and Barbara Cowsill
Bio | These “sunshine pop” stars got their start playing Beatles covers at Bannister’s Wharf in Newport and Brown University frat parties before ultimately conquering the biggest stages in American television (The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, American Bandstand). “The Rain, the Park & Other Things” hit No. 2 in 1967; “Hair” and “Indian Lake” also reached the top 10 – the most successful chart run by a Rhode Island act.
Fun Fact | The Cowsills were the real-life inspiration for The Partridge Family. They were also spokespeople for the American Dairy Association. (“The Cowsills say ‘Like, it’s beautiful,’” a print ad declared).