The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll
Fireside October 30, 2001
Formed mid-'60s, Newport, RI
Barbara Cowsill (b. 1929; d. Jan. 31, 1985); Bill Cowsill (b. Jan. 9, 1948, Newport); Bob Cowsill (b. Aug. 26, 1950, Newport); Dick Cowsill (b. Aug. 26, 1950, Newport); Paul Cowsill (b. Nov. 11, 1953, Newport); Barry Cowsill (b. Sep. 14, 1954, Newport); John Cowsill (b. Mar 2, 1956, Newport); Susan Cowsill (b. May 20, 1960, Newport).
1967 - The Cowsills (MGM) 1968 - We Can Fly; Captain Sad and His Ship Of Fools 1969 - The Best of the Cowsills; The Cowsills in Concert 1971 - On My Side (London).
This musical family from Rhode Island provided the inspiration for the TV's The Partridge Family. Under father William "Bud" Cowsill's direction, the Cowsill kids and mom played the New York City clubs regularly in the mid-'60s, attracting the attention of MGM, which released their debut album in November 1967. By early 1968 they had had their first hit single, "The Rain, the Park & Other Things" (#2). Lots of touring, network TV appearances, and a few more hits, including the theme from the rock musical Hair (#2, 1969), preceded their disbandment in early 1970. Mother Barbara died in 1985, three of the brothers and Susan reunited to tour and record demos five years later.
In the '90s Barry Cowsill worked as a solo artist. Bill Cowsill formed the band Blue Shadows, which released several albums in Canada. In 1991 Susan Cowsill and ex-Bangle Vicki Peterson formed the L.A.-based Psycho Sisters. The duo performed together and sang with such artists as Giant Sand, Steve Wynn, and the Continental Drifters, the latter of whom they would eventually join. Susan Cowsill married fellow Drifter Peter Holsapple (ex-dB's); they split up in 2000. Bob, John, Susan, and Paul revived the Cowsills in 1994 and contributed a new track to the compilation Yellow Pills, Volume One. Global, their 1998 comeback album, was released only through the Internet. Various Cowsill siblings occasionally reunite to perform together.