#1064: Rainbows, Pots of Gold & Moonbeams by Studebaker Hawk

Peak Month: May 1975
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #15
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

In 1969 a Canadian band named Motherlode had a Top Ten hit called “When I Die.” Although Canada’s RPM Magazine named them Canada’s first Supergroup, Motherlode disbanded in 1970. However, it was revived and was briefly fronted by bass player Breen Lebouf. Later in 1970 he went on to form a group called Southcote together with Lance Wright on drums and Joe Ress on keyboards with guitarist Charlie White. After three years of little success, Southcote split. Out of the ashes LeBouf, Wright and Ress got a new guitarist named Steve Cooley and formed Studebaker Hawk. In 1975 they released a single called “Rainbows, Pots of Gold and Moonbeams” written by Cooley.

The band’s name came from an epic song by Frank Zappa and the Mothers’ of Invention called “Billy the Mountain”. The song was as long as 47 minutes long when performed live on tour. The song is an intricate and absurd story in a parody of the rock opera style about a talking mountain named Billy and his “lovely wife, Ethel,” “a tree growing off of his shoulder.” The lyrics are a satirical myriad of pop culture imagery, the city of Los Angeles, the demise of urban America, and overall absurd juxtapositions of situations. While many of the details were improvised as the song was performed from town to town, the general structure of the song remained the same. A hero in the song is named Studebacher Hoch, and the Canadian bandmates liked the story Zappa told so well they adapted a phonetic version of the hero of the tale and named themselves Studebaker Hawk.

As background to who Studebacher Hoch was, here are some of the lyrics from the 24 plus minute recording of “Billy the Mountain” describing Studebacher.

…It was about this time that the telephone rang
inside of the secret briefcase belonging
to one mortal man who might be able to stop
all of this senseless destruction and save america herself…. 
This one man was Studebacher Hoch,
fantastic new super hero of the current economic slump.
Now, some folks say he looked like zubin meta, 
still others say “bullshit, honey,
it was just another greasy guy
who happened to be born next
to the frozen beef pies at boney’s market…”,
still others say “pshaw”, and piss on you, jack,
he’s just a crazy italian who drove a red car …”
you see, nobody ever really knew for sure
because Studebacher was sooooo mysterious ….

He was so ( he was so, he was so) mysterious
He was so ( he was so, he was so) mysterious
”cause when a person gets to be such a hero, folks
And marvelous beyond compute
you can never really tell about a guy like that,
whether he’s really a nice person
or if he just smiles a lot
or if he has a son named pinocchio or what.
Whether he’s really a nice person
or if he has a son named pinocchio or what.
Some men say he could fly.
Some men say he could swim.
Others say he could sing like neil sedaka….

So many rumors have spread about Studebacher Hoch,
consider this rumor which was published
about three weeks ago in Rolling Stone
( oh, it’s gotta be true! ) Studebacher Hoch can write the
Lord’s prayer on the head of a pin! 
(no!) do-do-do do-do-doot doot do-do-do
I’m so hip … beef pies … he was born next to the beef pies,
underneath Joni Mitchell’s autographed picture
Right beside Elliot Robert’s big bank book,
next to the boat where Crosby flushed away all his stash
and the cops got him in the boat and drove away,
to the can where Neil Young slipped another frozen pie…
And that was the main influence on him:
the influence of a frozen beef pie.

Although the trippy lyrics in Frank Zappa’s song were psychedelic and absurd, the song Studebaker Hawk released in 1975 was an adult contemporary middle-of-the-road single.

Studebaker Hawk - Rainbows, Pots Of Gold And Moonbeams 45 (Smile Can.).jpg

Hey have you ever heard the story,
about the man who chases dreams.
It’s an old fashioned favorite we all know,
all about the high class way to go.

Have you ever been to Hollywood?
They say the streets are paved with gold.
See the star-spangled lady in her show,
showing us the high class way to go.

Rainbows, pots of gold and moonbeams,
champagne, fancy clothes and limousines,
Whatcha gonna do when you find love has passed you by
and the pots of gold and rainbows lie empty in your dreams?

We have seen the sad sad story
Only love can set us free.

Rainbows, pots of gold and moonbeams
champagne, fancy clothes and limousines,
Whatcha gonna do when you find love has passed you by
and the pots of gold and rainbows lie empty in your dreams?

The song was a wistful tune about making it big in Hollywood, dreaming about living the high life, but finding your dreams never came true. It was a minor hit across Canada and only climbed to #80 on the Canadian RPM singles chart. In Vancouver the song spent two months on the CKLG chart peaking at #15. Concurrently, the Smile label released another one of the band’s songs called “Lazy Love“. But since the song was a sunshine pop tune, Smile decided to name the recording artists as the New City Jam Band. LeBouf, Cooley, Ress and Wright toured for awhile under both names and then broke up in 1976. Wright and Ress joined the group Shooter who had a hit called “I Can Dance (Long Tall Glasses)“. Breen Lebouf joined several Canadian bands, Brutus and Offenbach, before moving on in 1990 as a member of April Wine.

For more song reviews visit the Countdown.

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