The wonderful thing about the pop culture journey is that you never know it all, leaving a never ending supply of individuals that have made their own unique contributions to the history of entertainment to still be discovered. Recently The Four King Cousins crossed my pop culture radar, instantly charming me with their beauty, their music and their four part harmonies. Although they have stayed in the background for over thirty years, this summer The Four King Cousins have reappeared on the retro music scene via facebook and YouTube, which has led to their upcoming reunion concert in Los Angeles on November 6th. Although I didn’t know who they were six months ago, via the amount of information that has recently found its way onto the internet, I’ve thrown myself head first into King Cousins fandom.
Before the Jacksons and the Osmonds found their way to mass popularity, The King Family were possibly the biggest entertainment family in North America. Growing out of the success of big band era girl group, The King Sisters, The King Family were made up of the entire extended clan, including sisters, brothers, grandparents, kiddies and, most prominently, cousins. A staple on television throughout the 1960’s, the King Cousins were a youthful and energetic group made up of the children of The King Sisters which sang the “modern” hits of the day to a family friendly audience. However, four of those cousins; Cathy and Tina Cole, Candy Conkling and Carolyn Thomas, stepped out as a separate unit, where they became much like a modern day version of their mother’s original group. Calling themselves The Four King Cousins, the girls found an audience via their wholesome sex appeal and natural musical talent as they put their own spin on songs such as More Today Than Yesterday, I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love and Happy Together. In 1968 The Four King Cousins released their debut LP, Introducing The Four King Cousins. Although the album didn’t render any Billboard hits, The Four King Cousins stayed busy on television and beyond, appearing on various King Family television programs and specials, as well as making appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, Hollywood Palace, The Tonight Show, It’s Happening, The Merv Griffin Show, The Joey Bishop Show and many others. The girls also shared the stage with some of the biggest names in show business, including Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Wayne Newton, Ella Fitzgerald, Dionne Warwick, Richard Pryor, George Carlin and more too numerous to name.
By the end of the 1970’s The Four King Cousins took a step back from performing in order to raise their own families. While the King Family brand seemed dormant for a while, the musical tradition of the family continued. But via the expert management of producers Shane Rosamonda and Rene Reyes, The King Family have been rediscovered by modern audiences with a lust for retro pop culture prompting The Four King Cousins to make their long awaited return to the stage. In a one night only engagement on at The Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, CA, the Four King Cousins will rise like four lovely singing phoenixes. Hopefully it will be just the first reunion of many.
Flying high on my new found fandom for the group, I was delighted to have a visit with one of The Four King Cousins, Cathy Cole-Green, about the reunion, the group and the King Family legacy both past and present. A woman as charming as you’d expect a King Cousin to be, Cathy led me down her personal musical experiences amongst one of the largest musical family’s in pop culture history.