#1212: Rainbows, Pots of Gold & Moonbeams by Studebaker Hawk
Peak Month: September 1975
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #15
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Rainbows, Pots of Gold and Moonbeams”
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 Francophone bass player Breen Lebouf, born in North Bay, Ontario. 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.
In Zappa’s story Studebacher Hoch is was a superhero who can save America. Some said Studebacher Hoch was “born next to the frozen beef pies at boney’s market,” “underneath Joni Mitchell’s autographed picture” while others said the mysterious Studebacher Hock was “just a crazy italian who drove a red car.” Some people thought he could fly, others said he could swim and some thought Studebacher Hoch could sing like Neil Sedaka. In Zappas riff on Studebacher Hoch, the main influence on this superhero is “the influence of a frozen beef pie.”Although the trippy lyrics in Frank Zappa’s song were psychedelic and absurd, the song the band, Studebaker Hawk, released in 1975 was the adult contemporary middle-of-the-road single “Rainbows, Pots of Gold and Moonbeams”.
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….
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. In 2017, it was reported that Breen was a member of a new group named JerryCo Band, with Jerry Mercer of April Wine.
January 20, 2017
Larry Douglas, Breen LeBoeuf, Jaimie Vernon, Studebaker Hawk, Canadian Bands.com
Motherlode past band members, Wikipedia.org
Frank Zappa, “Billy The Mountain,” lyrics
Shooter, “I Can Dance (Long Tall Glasses),” 1976
Ron Roxtar, April Wine Veteran, Jerry Mercer Fronts New Supergroup, JerryCo Band!, Curtains Up.TV, October 1, 2017.
“CKLG ‘Thirty’,” CKLG 730 AM, Vancouver, BC, September 30, 1975.
For more song reviews visit the Countdown.
Do I remember this tune? Is the Pope Catholic? Not only that, I have it and it has been one of my all-time favorite songs, ever, since 1975! In fact, I listened to it many times this week. But, it is a pleasant surprise that the band had its origins with Motherlode, who did another one of my all-time favorites, “When I Die”. WOW! Thanks for memories of those wonderful days.
This song was my anthem as I sat on my steps of the place I was living, doing my homework as I was in the first year of university. It is a haunting song, that brought me comfort at 17 years of age….waiting to fulfill my dreams…..
Came across your site trying to recall a group (Studebaker Hawk) and was amazed to find Canadian charts posted. As you said, our local top 40’s contained content known only in Canada, and in some cases known only on a handful of stations. Grew up with Valdy, Lighthouse, Chilliwack and so many others.
And then FM. I’ve been searching off and on over the years for content played in Canada- specifically, CJAY 92 in Calgary- during it’s first few years on the air, starting in 1977. It was educational to start with Billboard/Canadian charts/AM charts and discover the station was only loosely following the AM top 40, and perhaps dispensing with playlists altogether for the evening/late night programming… which I guess was the whole point. DJ’s playing what they wanted to listen to.
In retrospect fascinating to find how wide-ranging the soundtrack of my teens actually was- but also frustrating to have no way of identifying that bar of music and/or lyrics that could have been a two-week favor to a local group or a deep cut from an overseas prog-rock name. Honestly, I’d pay for the scrappiest collection of notes from evenings at CJAY92 during ’77-’80.
Sad to think some of these bands and songs will in time just vanish, perhaps especially now that the music industry is in such a strange place. Which is why it’s so great that individuals such as yourself have shared local vaults of memories… thanks again.
Thanks for your comments. As the years pass, the pop songs from the classic rock era will continue to fade further into the rear view mirror. And the songs by Canadian recording artists from these years in the timeframe I am surveying them (1956 to 1993) can get lost. Some recording artists there is not much about.
During July 2023, I will complete counting down to song number one on my list of over 1,400 songs that charted into the Top 20 in Vancouver. All of these songs didn’t chart as well on the Billboard charts (USA). After posting a review of song #1, I’ll begin posting reviews of hit songs that were bigger hits in a variety of other Canadian radio markets. I’ll use the same statistical formula to compare with US chart runs. I’ll start alphabetically with Calgary where I’ll post 25 song reviews of a sample of the songs that were hits in Calgary that didn’t do so well in the USA. And, as with other songs I’ll feature from Edmonton (25 songs), Hamilton… all the way to Windsor and Winnipeg. Many of these songs from other radio markets in Canada also didn’t do very well (or even chart) in Vancouver. 1956 to 1993 was an era of songs that could do well in a regional radio market and not get much attention elsewhere. So look for my reviews of these Calgary pop hits between late July to the end of September 2023.