Singer, songwriter, and producer William Joseph Cowsill Jr. was born on January 9, 1948 in Middletown, RI. Bill Cowsill was the eldest of seven siblings from the Newport-based family band The Cowsills, and also performed as a solo artist and produced several Canadian bands over the course of his career.

Based in Newport, The Cowsills achieved national success in the 1960’s, behind hits like “The Rain, the Park and Other Things,” and “Hair.” They made numerous TV appearances, including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Johnny Cash Show, and toured frequently in their heyday. The Cowsills are inductees of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.

Bill Cowsill had an impressive career after The Cowsills dissolved in the early 1970s. He moved to Calgary, Canada, and performed as an alt-country musician playing in bands including The Blue Shadows and the Co-Dependents.

Cowsill’s health began to decline in the early 2000s and he passed away in February 2006 in Calgary. Sadly, his family learned of his death while holding a memorial service for his brother Barry, who died in Hurricane Katrina.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.