Wednesday, March 6, 2013
On The Radar: Family Band
Talk about a fascinating documentary! Family Band: The Cowsills Story is the true tale of 60's pop sensation family act The Cowsills and it's spellbinding. A bunch of "Navy brats" from Newport, Rhode Island hit the big time and all the trap doors that go along with it.
They were an "establishment friendly" counterculture band that was easy to market. Bubblegum psychedelic How popular were they? In 1967, the Cowsills first MGM release, “The Rain, The Park & Other Things,” sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold record. This song would ultimately reach No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 in Cash Box and Record World.
One year later, the band scored another near million-selling hit with the song “Indian Lake,” reaching No. 10 on the charts and in 1968, the band hit No. 1 again with their version of “Hair,” a three-million seller which brought them a nomination for 16 Magazine’s Best Group of 1970. “Hair” was banned from Armed Forces radio in Viet Nam for being too controversial, while ironically Richard Cowsill was serving there.
This string of hits opened the door for other "family acts" to go mainstream like The Osmonds and The Jackson Five. The Partridge Family was directly modeled from The Cowsills. When Shirley Jones asked why the actual family wasn't used on the series, the producers told her "They can't act".
Man, were they wrong.
While everyone thought they were the blessed perfect family living a charmed life onstage, there was a dark story unfolding backstage. Drugs & alcohol along with physical and mental abuse. The film is like an intervention and recovery as told by the Cowsill children themselves.
It's a fantastic inside look at their lives. Then and now.
Family Band: The Cowsills Story is currently running on the Showtime family of channels and available at Showtime Anytime after that. Definitely worth watching.