Newspaper Articles

Disk Payola Dying but Plug Lives On
by Keith Spore
October 28, 1967
Milwaukee Sentinel
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Immortal rumors always seem to deal with immortality.

For instance, crackpots annually insist that Hitler still is alive – Jesse James still is alive – payola is dead. Well, Hitler and James aside, there is a good indication that payola, if not dead, is gasping. Record companies are spending vast sums on legitimate promotional campaigns. Would those expenditures be necessary if DJs still were getting illicit perquisites? It’s doubtful.

At any rate, two of the more costly recent promotion campaigns have touted Nilsson and the Cowsills. Nilsson’s first RCA LP was sent to the nation’s radio stations and record reviewers in a pretty little box containing balloons, decals, photographs and biographical information. The Cowsills’ first MGM LP was preceded by a month long mailing of “teasers” – postcards hinting at the existence of something named “Cowsill.”

. . .

The “promo” money spent on the Cowsills already is paying handsome dividends, but the group’s redeeming grace merely is that they’re good looking people. Put mom, dad and the seven Cowsill children within range of a wide angle lens, and you’ve got a photograph of the proverbial all-American family. Which makes for nice album covers, but not necessarily nice albums. At least, that’s the way “The Cowsills” strikes these ears. There’s not a worthwhile cut among the clutter, including “The Rain, the Park, and Other Things.” “Pennies,” “River Blue” and “Troubled Roses.”

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