William Cowsill, lead singer of the ’60s bubblegum family band The Cowsills, which inspired the TV series The Partridge Family, died Friday after a series of illnesses. He was 58.
Cowsill, who was suffering from emphysema, osteoporosis and other ailments, passed away in Calgary, Alberta, according to his family and Canadian record producer Neil MacGonigill. He had been in deteriorating health for some time.
From 1967-70, The Cowsills, who were first spotted by a Today show scout in Newport, R.I. (the morning TV gig landed them a record deal), had hits with “The Rain, The Park and Other Things” and “Hair.”
Four Cowsill brothers played in the band: Barry on bass, William on guitar, Bob on guitar and organ, and John on drums. Their mother, Barbara, and little sister, Susan, eventually joined the group.
Barry disappeared after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans on Aug. 29. His body was recovered Dec. 28 from the Chartres Street Wharf, reports the Associated Press.
The band broke up in the 1970s. William, the oldest brother, moved to Canada about 35 years ago, where he continued his music career with Blue Northern, The Blue Shadows and the Co-Dependents.
Two sons survive Cowsill.