NEW YORK (UPI) - The family that sings together profits together.
The Cowsills, of Newport, R.I., began singing for pure pleasure at home, soon were making local appearances for charity, moved on to the Ivy League college concert circuit, then just like in Hollywood were discovered quite by accident for the big time.
Six members of the family of nine (the six are mom and five children) make up the steady vocal-instrumental combo which already has recorded one disc which sold over one million units, another single nearing the prized one million mark, albums also moving towards the top, and is lined up for as many appearances for concerts and network television as time will allow.
THE HEAD of the family, Bud Cowsill, a Navy veteran, didn't want to mention the actual annual his brood earns per appearance - "but we're getting better than top dollar. We divide the money nine ways. The children's shares go into trusts for each."
AND THE offers rolled in “Today” booked them for an hour-long concert today. They have made two of 10 appearances for which they’ve signed on the Ed Sullivan show.
They keep dates to weekends because of school. Four of the children are in Professional Children’s School in New York, two are at Pace College, and one is about to enroll in UVN – the “University of Vietnam” as he put it.
“DICK SAYS he’s just tired of school for a while,” said his mother, Barbara, a slim blonde who married almost 22 years ago. “We try to let each child have a crack at what he wants to do.”
The children are Bill, 20, the twins Bob and Dick, 18, Paul, 16, Barry, 13, John, 11, and Susan, who is her words is “eight and three-quarters.” The only nonsingers are father Cowsill, a retired chief petty officer, and Dick. Paul hadn’t sung either until the Italian tour when he filled-in because one of the others had to go back to college.
During a visit with the parents at the family’s New York apartment Mrs. Cowsill explained how music began “formally” for the children.
Now, when the troupe is not on tour, their 23-room, 100-year-old house overlooking Newport harbor is filled with bass and rhythm guitars, drums, electric piano, organ, harpsichord.
Mrs. Cowsill said she hadn’t intended to become part of the group, but one day for a recording session the boys asked her to sit in “and then you can go right back home.”
Said Mrs. Cowsill, who still does the housework, “People ask me how my life has changed. I tell them, well, now I’ve added singing to washing and ironing and cooking …”