Their record, “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things,” was number one on the charts, as the vernacular goes, and is still in the top 10, and their album, “The Cowsills,” is in the top 20. They make their second appearance on the Ed Sullivan show tomorrow night and have been signed for several more Sullivan appearances.
The Cowsills are with a family operation, four boys, a mother and a daughter, making up the performers, and a father and two other sons working behind the scenes. Bill, 19, Bob, 18, Barry, 13 and John, 11m are the nucleus of the singing group; Mrs. Barbara Cowsill and Susan, 8, tune in one cue. Bud Cowsill, the father, a former enlisted man in the navy, who retired three years ago, is the general manager. Dick, 18, Bill’s twin, and Paul, 16, are road managers.
An interview with this group is a veritable happening. Ideally, two or three people participate. Four is a crowd. For this all the Cowsills were present except the father. They filled the chairs and three were lying on the floor. All of them talked at once, and in the same high key.
Lenny Stogel and his wife were also much present. A couple of press agents were there. Two or three girls, in some way associated with Stogel’s office, came and went. It could be described in a word – bedlam. About the din and the babble and the teasing and the children’s jokes, a few basic facts about the Cowsills trickled through.
Mr. and Mrs. Cowsill are both from Cranston, R.I. He joined the Navy when he was 17, and they were married two years later. Her mother, Mrs. Helen Brooks and a sister, Mary Jane Brooks, live in Providence.
The Cowsill kids are all self-trained musicians who developed their own natural talent. They began singing together about the time they started to talk and the older boys taught the younger ones.
Barry was the original drummer until John took over. Now Barry plays the bass guitar and sings. Bill and Bob do all the musical arrangements.
They’ve lived in many places, but just before they moved to Newport, R.I., they lived in Portsmouth, Va.
Mrs. Cowsill joined the singing group because she wanted a good reason to travel with the family.
“When Bud was in the Navy, I got so tired saying good-bye,” she said. “When this all started, I decided to join them. Otherwise Susan and I would be home alone most of the time. I’m terrified, of course. My hands and feet turn to ice. It’s not like singing around the kitchen. But it’s better than staying behind.”