Fifty years ago, I never imagined The Cowsills would still be playing in front of appreciative audiences, says Bob Cowsill, leader of one of the 6 groups in The Happy Together Tour coming to The Playhouse on August 7.
Half way through their 50 summer dates of one-nighters, Cowsill was as energized speaking on the phone as he was singing with his family members as a pre-teen on the Ed Sullivan show in the '60's.
The 2017 edition of the annual Happy Together Tour, now in its 8th year, features bands baby boomers 'grew up with and danced to' at high school canteens. Fans flock to the shows to recollect and sing along. It will be no different on August 7 @ The Playhouse.
This oldies circuit business model has proven a success. The 6 headline artists enjoy a combined 53 Billboard hits and have sold hundreds of millions of records. The Turtles, featuring Flo and Eddie ("Happy Together", "Elenore"), had this genius idea years ago and are regulars. They decide the other groups that join them on the summer nostalgia tour. The choices are many. What 70+ old singer would not want to relive his glory days? This is The Cowsills' ("The Rain, The Park and Other Things", "Hair") third year straight and they are loving it.
As a certified member of this Geritol society, I felt The Association ("Never My Love", "Cherish") had to be one of the greatest harmonizing groups ever. Bob Cowsill agreed. He commented that his own family was known for harmonies, but "The Association adds double the textures".
Chuck Negron (formally of Three Dog Night) still has the pipes to belt "Mama Told Me Not To Come" and "One".
The Box Tops had a #1 hit with "The Letter" and will be celebrating that tune's 50th anniversary on the tour.
Oy Vey, personal reminiscences abound. The Box Top played at a party I attended in 1965. In '69 all the fraternities at UD were matched in a singing contest. I rewrote the entire lyrics of The Associations' "Never My Love" to "Never Blue Hens". We won not only the trophy but also the adoring hearts of those cute co-eds. (The motivating factor going in. Duh).
Dig way way back to recall The Archies of the bubblegum pop era from '68-'72. It was a fictional garage band in a weekly tv cartoon show led by Archie Andrews, Veronica Lodge, Jughead Jones, etc. If you've ever been troubled about the weighty question on how The Archies would sound "live", this show will allay your anxieties. The Archies big hit was "Sugar Sugar" and Ron Dante, who voiced the tune, will have the honors.
Fun fact about The Cowsills: Their mother was part of the group and their image was one of 'family' and 'wholesomeness'. In 1968, they starred in their own tv special called "A Family Thing". The next year Screen Gems approached the family to portray themselves in their own tv sitcom. When they were told that their Mom would be replaced by actress Shirley Jones they passed. The network later hirEd Jones and her stepson David Cassidy and history was made with THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY.
Bob Cowsill guarantees a great show. "Get off the couch" he implores! He is constantly amazed at both the quality of his colleagues' voices and the love expressed by the audience. "We give our devoted fans the chance to relive wonderful experiences. We are also singing for those who have passed".
During The Great Depression, Americans sought a brief respite from despair by attending movies. With the vitriol, lies and grotesgueries spewing daily from the impious POTUS' pie hole - and the consequent fear and loathing - perhaps we could all use a two-hour breather with The Happy Together Tour. I sure can. Where are my bell bottoms?
The Cowsills do Meet & Greets after the shows. Says Cowsill, "Some of the personal thoughts that people share about how our songs impacted their lives often bring tears. If not tears, well...certainly big hugs. We are very grateful".
Monday August 7 @ The Playhouse Ticket.TheGrandWilmington.org 800.37.GRAND