Newspaper Articles

Lead singer of Cowsills dies as brother mourned
January 20, 2006
CBC News

Billy Cowsill, once the frontman for 1960s family band the Cowsills, has died at his home in Calgary at the age of 58.

Family members confirmed Sunday that Billy died Friday night. He had been fighting a lengthy battle with a variety of ailments which included emphysema, osteoporosis and Cushing syndrome. But the family did not reveal what caused Billy’s death.

Paul Cowsill, brother to Billy, told the Providence Journal that Billy had a history of problems with drugs and alcohol which had "caught up with him."

The family had been gathered in Rhode Island over the weekend for a memorial service for Barry Cowsill, a brother who was also a member of the band. Barry drowned in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in September.

The Cowsills were the inspiration for the 1970s television sitcom The Partridge Family. The act included parents Bud and Barbara, daughter Susan and brothers William (Billy), Robert, Richard, Barry, Paul and John.

The Cowsills also had their own TV special and performed as a headline act in Las Vegas. They had several hits including Hair, The Rain and Indian Lake. They disbanded in the early '70s and went their own ways.

Billy moved to Canada 35 years ago and continued his musical career with the bands Blue Northern and the Blue Shadows, which released two well-received albums.

In an interview with the Calgary Sun in January 2002, Billy admitted his life spiralled out of control in Vancouver during the mid-1990s. His Calgary friends came to his rescue: "They dragged me [back to Calgary], put me up in a facility and allowed me to get my health, my sanity … back."

In 2002, Billy was halfway through a psychology degree from Mont Royal College and had formed a "weekend party band" called the Co-Dependents. His family said he was working towards a degree in music education when he died.

Cowsill is survived by two sons, Travis and Del.

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