Brownsville Herald 071477
Cowsills Rose To Heights, Fell Far, Trying Comeback B y M I C H A E L BLUMSTEIN WEST WARWICK, R.I. (DPI) -- It was the American dream. A mother, her five sons and one daughter sang together in (heir living room, practiced constantly, and ended up with three gold records and a slew of television appearances. The Cowsills were America's number one singing family. Their first big song -- "The Rain, the Park and Other Things" -- hit the top of the charts in 1967. The next two years brought five albums and other hits, including "Indian Lake," "We Can 'Fly," and Hair." The kids started. out in Newport, playing dates in a local hotel in 1965. They lived in neighboring MJildlotown. Their father, retired from the Navy after a career as an enlisted man, became the manager. The Cowsills had their own TV special in 1968 and made guest appearances on such shows as Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson and Dean Martin. The money rolled in -- and right back on I -- as the family bought a 23-room mansion in ritzy Newport, as well as land elsewhere in Rhode Island and in California. The family also took an apartment in New York. But the bubble burst. Since 1970, a fall [n the group's popularity has been matched only by a fall in the family's bank account. In the last two years, parents William and Barbara Cowsill have each had to file in court for bankruptcy. They sought to rid themselves of an accumulated $445,730 in debts to hotels, recording studios, credit card companies, lawyers, agents and airlines -- among other concerns. All the real estate, of course, has been sold or repossessed. Today, Mrs. Cowsill lives in a garden apartment in West Warwick where she works nights in a local nursing home. She very calmly insists she's not bitter, "ft was poor business management. It happens happens to the best of us. You just have to pick yourself up by your boot straps. It was a wonderful thing and I enjoyed ii thoroughly." She also said disbanding the group was really best for her family. "These were children and they needed room to grew." Mrs. Cowsill said her husband husband has gone back to sea. He is home two weeks every month and works the balance of the time on offshore drilling rigs in such faraway places as Egypt and Turkey. Of her children, Mrs. Cowsill said, "They've just been busy growing up." The youngest, Susan, is now IB. The oldest, Bob, is 27 and has just finished his pre-medical undergraduate education. Although the group has not played publicly for some time now, Mrs. Cowsill 'said America has not heard the of her children, "It's ail just in. the infancy stage now," she said, "but you're going to see some big things happening." According to the Cowsills 1 new manager, Jonathan Myer, of North Hollywood, Calif,, "the time is right" for a comeback. He said Susan and three brothers -- Bob, Paul, and John, 21 -- have signed with Elektra-Asylum records and "they'll essentially start where they left off." "Of course, it's not in the same context as it was before," he said. "Now they're a contemporary group whose members just all happen to brothers and sisters." But there is always "a certain amount of interest in family-oriented groups," he said, And, according to Mrs. Cowsill, her children are excited with the prospect of making a comeback. "Jt's more fun for them now. It's a life-death thing with them. They couldn't appreciate what was happening then." Not that they don't remember: remember: "They sang 'IndianLake' to me on the phone from California this past Mother's Day."