Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Song of the Day: 'The Rain, the Park & Other Things' by the Cowsills


The other day when the Oscar nominations came out I realized I haven't seen a film that received a best picture nod since 2017, something I attributed to my changing habits and so much good television. But the more I thought about it -- as a Saturday night rolled around with Damian out of town and my looking for something to watch -- the more I realized the main reason is I just don't have much interest in fictional works these days. 

Instead, my idea of a great night was watching "Family Band: The Cowsills Story," a  documentary about a wholesome band that scored three big hits on the Billboard Hot 100; appeared on Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson and Mike Douglas; had a handful of teen idols in all the magazines; starred in a milk campaign for the American Dairy Association; and were the inspiration for the "Partridge Family" television series only to fade into obscurity.  The reasons for the rapid rise and fall are pretty disturbing -- as real life often is -- which probably explains my dissension into nonfiction entertainment only. 

After that I saw the season premiere of "Evil Lives Here," where poor Jesse Eging told the story of how his mother, Mary Rowles, sat by while her butch, Alice Jenkins, subjected him and his siblings to heinous torture and abuse, including locking them in a closet for months on end and feeding them human and dog feces. Not even Stephen King could come up something this twisted. 

"The Rain, the Park & Other Things" reached No. 2  on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967.

"Hair" hit No. 2 in 1968. Carl Reiner was pulling together a television special called "Wonderful World of Pizazz," which celebrated the hippie styling of the day, and got the Cowsills to record the title track from "Hair," knowing that the family's goody-goody image would make for a humorous twist on the anti-war musical. Their cover was kept out of the number-one spot by another song from the "Hair" cast album: "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" by the 5th Dimension.

Available now on Amazon Prime Video.

1 comment:

Jack said...

I remember seeing The Cowsills on TV when I was in kindergarten. I had an early crush on all those cute boys. And their version of Hair was played every other minute on the radio. Then, they sort of just disappeared. I did not know they were the inspiration for The Partridge Family, but makes sense.