The Cowsills and Connie Stevens
If you follow Iron Leg (the blog or the podcast) you will already know that I am a huge fan of the Cowsills.
A few years back, during a dig in Pittsburgh I was lucky enough to put my hands on copies of all of their little-heard but excellent pre-MGM 45s.
The band (when it was just the boys) had built up a head of steam as local favorites in New England,and recorded some excellent records for Johnny Nash’s JoDa label and then a few for Mercury’s Philips subsidiary.
One their early records that really caught my ear was the tune ‘Most of All’.
Written by Gary Geld and Peter Udell (who wrote Bryan Hyland’s ‘Sealed With a Kiss’ and the Walker Brothers (and the Carpenters) ‘Hurting Each Other’), ‘Most of All’ is a groovy little pop number that is redolent of that transitional period when the Beatles were spurring all kinds of groups to drag earlier pop styles into the 60s.
The chord changes are interesting, and the Cowsills vocals are (typically) excellent.
When I started to dig for information on the record I discovered that the song had gotten around, also having been recorded by Connie Stevens.
Her version of the song is a sugary sweet pop confection, with any and all rock feeling of the Cowsills version stripped away. This is not to say that it’s bad – which it isn’t – but in her hands it’s a different kind of record entirely. It was also produced by Dick Glasser, who produced many of the Apollas’ 45s.
The information I’ve found suggests that the Cowsills version was released shortly before Stevens’ (by a month) and outperformed hers significantly, charting in a number of Northeast markets (where Stevens doesn’t appeared to have charted anywhere, having had her last significant hit the previous year with ‘Now That You’ve Gone’).
The good thing is, that if you dig either of these records, they’re both inexpensive.
I hope you like them, and I’ll see you next week.
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