The Rain, The Park & Other Things by The Cowsills

The Cowsills are an interesting phenomena in the history of American pop music. A true family band, at some point all six siblings (Bill, Bob, and Barry, John, Paul & Susan) plus mom Barbara were in the band. They could all play their instruments and sing lead or harmony. In 1967 they released their first album and a hit single that is a perfect time capsule of that period, the sunshine pop classic The Rain, The Park & Other Things. The song was written by Artie Kornfeld and Steve Duboff who were together in the band The Changin’ Times and also wrote The Pied Piper, made famous by Crispian St. Peters. Kornfeld was vice president of Capitol Records in the 60s and wrote a good number of songs that made the Billboard charts. Such were the times when executives running major record labels were actual musicians. A couple of years after the release of the hit single for the Cowsills Kornfeld went on to create and run the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival along with Mike Lang.

Artie Kornfield on how he came up with the unique name for the song: “I was about a week from releasing the Cowsills first album. ‘The Rain The Park’ was going to be the B side and ‘Come Around Here’, the Mowtown classic was to be the A side. MGM President Mort Nassiter asked me to come to a meeting about the release. They told me that because I wrote ‘TheFlower Girl’ I was not secure in going with it. They had tested it out at radio and it way outperformed the Motown. Then, out of nowhere the Pres said “Artie, because Scott McKensie has a hit with ‘If Your Going to SF wear flowers in your hair’, we need a title in the next hour so we can start pressing the record. Out of nowhere, but somewhere spiritual inside me, I say for some reason “Let’s call it ‘The Rain The Park and Other Things.’ Why, I have no idea but over the years of hearing it on the radio I realized it was a prediction of Woodstock, yet to be thought of, and the loss of my Wife and Child.” Kornfeld lost his first wife in the early ’80s and then his 16-year-old daughter to a drug overdose.

The song was recorded at Columbia Studio A1 at 799 7th Ave New York on August 17 1967. That studio was later named A&R studios and was managed by Phil Ramone. A number of great artists recorded there, most notably Bob Dylan with two landmark recordings: Like a Rolling Stone in 1965 and Blood on the Tracks in 1974.

I love the production, arrangement and vocal harmonies in this song. The organ quarter notes, the rain sound effect, the harp glissando, the bells (glockenspiel?) and the multi-part harmonies. Even though the boys could play, the studio employed session musicians for the band’s songs until 1969.

Here is  the mono version of the studio recording:

However as we can see in the following clip, they did quite a good job in live performances playing all the instruments. The video shows a stripped down arrangement compared to the studio version, but still very effective. Notice the Paul McCartney-like bass guitar and nine year old Susan Cowsill. She could play that tambourine!

I saw her sitting in the rain

Raindrops falling on her

She didn’t seem to care

She sat there and smiled at me

 

Then I knew

(I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew)

She could make me happy

(Happy, happy)

She could make me very happy

 

Flowers in her hair

(In her hair)

Flowers everywhere

(Everywhere)

 

I love the flower girl

(I love the flower girl)

Oh, I don’t know just why, she simply caught my eye

I love the flower girl

(I love the flower girl)

She seemed so sweet and kind, she crept into my mind

(To my mind, to my mind)

 

I knew I had to say hello

(Hello, hello)

She smiled up at me

Then she took my hand

And we walked through the park alone

 

And I knew

(I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew)

She had made me happy

(Happy, happy)

(She had made me very happy)

 

Flowers in her hair

(In her hair)

Flowers everywhere

(Everywhere)

 

I love the flower girl

(I love the flower girl)

Oh, I don’t know just why, she simply caught my eye

I love the flower girl

(I love the flower girl)

She seemed so sweet and kind, she crept into my mind

(To my mind, to my mind)

 

Suddenly, the sun broke through

(See the sun)

I turned around she was gone

(Where did she go?)

All I had left was one little flower in my hand

 

But I knew

(I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew)

She had made me happy

(Happy, happy)

(She had made me very happy)

 

Flowers in her hair

(In her hair)

Flowers everywhere

(Everywhere)

 

I love the flower girl

(I love the flower girl)

Was she reality or just a dream to me?

I love the flower girl

(I love the flower girl)

Her love showed me the way to find a sunny day

(Sunny day)

(Sunny day, sunny day)

 

I love the flower girl

(I love the flower girl)

Was she reality or just a dream to me?

I love the flower girl

(I love the flower girl)

Categories: Songs

Tagged as: ,

5 replies »

  1. A NAME LOST IN THE DEPTHS OF MY MEMORY! Look forward to a listen!

    Cowsills:-)

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

Leave a Reply