Update 1/1/2018:A book released in September 2017 gives a good chronological account of the story of Bridey Murphy.
Bridey Murphy was a band consisting of Bill Cowsill, Paul Cowsill, Barry Cowsill, John Cowsill and Waddy Wachtel. (Update: In a Beach Boys Britain Newsletter Vol 10 No 4, John states "Then I got a call from my brother Paul who was doing sound for Helen Reddy at the time. He just got a deal on Capitol Records along with my brother Bill. So I flew back out to California to join them. The band, Bridey Murphy, now consisted of Bill, Paul, Barry, Waddy Wachtel, myself and Lindsey Buckingham (for all about twenty minutes)… It was absolutely insane. Bill was out of control…alcohol, drugs…well hell, we all were but the rest of us weren’t gonzo like Bill…so we had to force him out. Waddy ended up producing the project. Well, we were recording at Keith Olson’s studio (he was also engineering) and we were putting on background vocals. We see Billy walk in the booth: he grabs the 24-track two-
inch tape off of the machine and starts running around the booth stuffing it in his mouth…end of project. John Carter at Capitol got wind of it and poof ! I believe there is a song about it written by Jackson (Brown) and Warren (Zevon) called “Billy Ate The Tape”")" The Fleetwood Mac site quotes Waddy: "
However, were it not for the Cowsills, probably no one would have ever heard of Waddy Wachtel. " Waddy tells the story like this. "I moved here in '68, with a band called, "Twice Nicely." And it's funny, we were playing up in Newport, Rhode Island. And all the sudden people would say to me, have you heard the Cowsills? I went "what?" What kind of word is that? I never heard a word like that in my life! Cowsills? And they said, "Oh, man, that's these four boys, and they are amazing." And I was like, "You gotta be kidding." And they said, "They're babies . . . they're kids." So I went and saw them. And at that time the Cowsills were, like, literally just the four kids: Bobby, Billy, Barry and John. And they were amazing! They did Beatles songs, and they sang beautifully. But their father (William "Bud" Cowsill) was a complete alcoholic monster, who would come to the club we played in and get so drunk. I used to have him thrown out of the club a few times a week. "Get that fucking bum out of here." Then he started telling me, "I want to manage you." And I was like, "Get the fuck away from me." And all the sudden, The Cowsills got a deal. And it was amazing! Now at this point, some time had gone by. When I first met him, and I was still with that band, The Orphans. Then things went down, the band quit, the college thing fell through, and I put together this band called "Twice Nicely." And we were back working in Newport, Rhode Island. Anyhow, Bud would come to this club called "Dorian's," where The Ophans would play, and try to tell me he wanted to manage me, and I told him, "You are out of your mind. Look, when you get a million dollars, then come talk to me." And he was shit-faced drunk and I didn't think it mattered. ... (discusses his draft board problems) ... Yeah. And about two weeks later, we moved to LA, with the Cowsills."
John added the following info via Facebook 8/29/11:"
Bridey Murphy. Paul is lead singer. Originally Bill Paul Barry Myself Waddy, Lindsey [Buckingham] was there for about two rehearsals then Waddy suggested to Lindsey to "get out now, this is a run away train... oh my and it was. These were the sessions that have been noted as "Billy Ate The Tape "
I can't find an exact time/date of when Capitol signed Bridey Murphy, but we know that in 1974 Capitol released one single. "The Time Has Come" [written by Judi Pulver - who had written with Bob and Bill in the past as well as performed on Bill's Nervous Breakthrough album - and Robert "Bob" Wachtel - whom had written for The Cowsills and performed with Bill on Nervous Breakthrough. Judi Pulver and Bob Wachtel also wrote "On My Side"] was the A side with "Be Your Mother's Son" on the B side. I have no info on "Be Your Mother's Son." "The Time Has Come" has a time of 2 minutes and 10 seconds and was produced by Waddy Wachtel. The record's number is Capitol P-3975 (Promo PRO-6989). According to an article in the Sherman Oaks Sun September 2004, Paul Cowsill did all vocals and Waddy Wachtel played all instruments.