The Cowsills, the high-flying family combo which has been compared to a composite of Shirley Temple, The Beatles and Billy Graham, will take home around $1,000,000 this year, a total stemming from the group's smash disks for MGM Records.
The sudden affluency for The Cowsills combo, including mother, father, sons and daughter, sharply contrasts with their predicament early last year when the mortgage on their home in Newport, R.I., was almost foreclosed. A quick $5,000 advance from MGM, on the suggestion of the Cowsills' manager, Leonard Stogel, staved off the sheriff.
The Cowsills are now being primed by Stogel for an all-encompassing show biz career, including concerts, tv, films and eventually legit. The group, which writes its own material, is already branching out as producers for other disk acts. A new company, Cowsills-Stogel, has been set up to produce a situation comedy series with music for tv starting in 1969. For the current season, the combo is scheduled to make 10 guest shots on the Ed Sullivan show.
The Cowsills' five children run from age 18 to eight. Because several members of the combo are underage, they will not be able to perform in concerts during their visit to England next month. The group is slated to work at the San Remo Festival in Italy Jan. 30 - Feb. 4 and will probably play at the Forest Hills Stadium, Queens, N.Y., next summer. On Feb. 26, the NBC-TV "Today" show will spotlight the Cowsills in an hourlong special.
The Cowsills, who had struck out on two previous disk labels, took off on MGM with their first outing, "The Rain, The Park and Other Things." The disk ran up 1,200,000 in sales and led to topselling LP and second single.
The second LP of the Cowsills, due out Jan. 22, racked up 150,000 in advance orders from MGM Records distribs meeting in Barbados last week. The Cowsills performed at the sales meeting.
A Screen Gems' subsidiary, which handles merchandising for The Monkees, has also taken on the Cowsills. Under licensing deals, the Cowsill tag will be turning up on instruments, toys, candy, clothing, etc.
Stogel, who formerly was in the export business, has also parlayed his management firm into a $1,000,000 operation. He began operations a little more than three years ago with Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs. He's since represented Tommy James & The Shondells, The Royal Guardsmen, Sandy Posey and Jim & Jean.
He now operates his own disk production unit, Lauren Music, and a publishing firm, Akbestal Music. He and his wife, Myrna, onetime U.S. rep for Pye Records, also own Greg Yale Inc., a recording company which owns the masters to the Cowsills.