February 11, 2014

Voodoo Child: Susan Cowsill

At the tender age of eight, Susan Cowsill appeared with "family band" The Cowsills on The Ed Sullivan Show.  You read that right: she was eight years old.

 She may have been a kid, but she works that tambourine and sings like she was born to be in the band with her brothers and mother.   You can't take your eyes off of her.  Whatever "it factor" was or is, little Susan had it, and in spades.  She was a groovy little chick, a real voodoo child.  And when that young lady started dancing?  Forget it.  The girl had moves.

CBS flubbed the audio on the first verse and chorus in this clip.  Stick with it; when the mikes get switched on properly, you get to hear the band's remarkable vocals.

All of the Cowsill children were the victims of their militant, domineering father, Bud.  The Cowsills were so liked by Ed Sullivan, he wanted them for an unheard-of TEN guest appearances for the show.  However, because of the audio flub by CBS at the beginning of the song, Bud had a huge argument with the Sullivan people.  

The Cowsills would only appear once more on the show.

UPDATE from October 2014: I found this clip, a medley of tunes showcasing each individual member.  Little Susan belts out "Sweet-talkin' Guy." 


  1. I saw a program about the band on Showtime. It was a very sad thing, how their Dad drank and treated everyone. I can't imagine how awful it must have been for Bill to be kicked out of the group and the family. The dad was in a league with Joe Jackson and Murray Wilson. Jesus Christ, who could have guessed, when you watch a clip like this?

    1. I have yet to see the documentary, which is called Family Band, but I have read online that many terrible things happened to these kids on their stardom journey, not the least of which being having all of their money pissed away by their "manager" father. (Unfortunately, that happens a lot in the music business.) I never listened to Cowsills growing up, being that my parents were two confirmed rock n' roll listeners whose tastes ran much more to Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Blind Faith, etc. I find that I quite like their music and I find them rather fascinating. The Cowsills were a terrific live band. There is a clip on YT of the band at the Playboy Mansion that is really something else.

      Barry Cowsill, may he rest in peace, was bipolar, like I am. I hope he and his brother Bill are jamming with Jesus up in Heaven, because they deserve nothing less.

  2. A two minute masterpiece.

    It may be only bubblegum pop music from the 60's but those remarkable harmonies will still be listened to 100 years from now.

  3. What we do on earth determines our destiny: wanna wiseabove to Seventh-Heaven, dear?