His siblings often called Barry the most musically talented of the family – which is saying a lot. Older brother Bill almost replaced Brian Wilson in The Beach Boys, and those same siblings comprised The Cowsills – an American pop phenomenon during the mid to late 60s.
Influenced by The Beatles, Barry joined brothers Bill, Bob, Paul and John in a successful Rhode Island garage band; mother Barbara and little sister Susan were soon added (by father Bud), creating a template that would ultimately spawn the TV series, The Partridge Family.
Barbara Cowsill died of emphysema on 31 January 1985 while living in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was 56.
Barry was somewhat successful in the East Coast New Wave scene before relocating to New Orleans in the 1990s. The most troubled Cowsill – albeit a kind and lovable soul – Barry attempted suicide at least once.
His brothers were taking him back to California for rehab when Hurricane Katrina struck. Susan – who lost everything in the storm – received a final phone message on September 1st: “I don’t know how to get out of town . . . I’ve been so fucking lonely. I hope to get in touch”.
Barry’s body, recovered at a wharf, was identified two days after Christmas. Coroners ruled his death a drowning.
Bill Cowsill died in Calgary, Alberta, on 18 February 2006, aged 58.
He had been in poor health for the last few years of his life, suffering from emphysema, Cushing’s syndrome and osteoporosis.
Guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals
Bass, drums, vocals