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."
The Cowsills always work as a unit, sing anything from rock to hymns. Cowsill is the real name (it’s of Liverpool-Manchester, England origin). None of them ever has had a vocal or instrumental music lesson, and they might still be performing in the Newport area if it had not been for a writer from the network “Today” show vacationing in the Rhode Island resort.
He heard them in a Newport hotel appearance, introduced himself to the father, asked how the family would like to go to the NBC television show and just like that – they debuted on network.
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 represented the United States at the San Remo music festival in Italy earlier this month, then toured the country, and are booked for concert appearances on weekends for months ahead around the United States.
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.
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.
Normally, Paul and Dick act as stage and road managers. Bud Cowsill helps steer the whole ship.