Monday, July 27, 2015

Coucil* (for Council*)

Remember the Cowsills? Musical groups often have interesting names, so for a brief senior moment there I sort of had to wonder: what is a cowsill? (Is it anything like a "henway"?) Well, it turns out that Cowsill was the surname of Bill, Bob, Barry, and John, along with their siblings Susan and Paul, and their mother Barbara (known by fans as "mini-mom"). The "bubblegum pop" band played widely in the late 1960s and was the inspiration for the popular sitcom The Partridge Family. In both incarnations, the father was generally "not in the picture" (if not entirely uninvolved) and his absence may be partially explained by the 2015 Showtime doc Family Band: The Cowsills Story, which discusses the Cowsills' "rise to fame and subsequent fall, due to their father's controlling and abusive nature." On a more upbeat note, it includes interviews with Tommy James, Shirley Jones, and radio personality Cousin Brucie. It seems the Cowsills were also cow shills (just kidding, I mean spokespeople, though they were practically a council unto themselves) for the American Dairy Association. They sang the themes to the film The Impossible Years (1968) and the television show Love American Style (1969), and were considered to be "the real thing" by Ms. Jones and many others in the music and TV biz. Coucil* (for council*) was found 30 times in OhioLINK, and 1425 times in WorldCat.

(Publicity photo of the Cowsills receiving a gold record for their hit single "The Rain, the Park and Other Things" in 1967, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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