Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids were a parody rock n’ roll band who figured very much in the 70s music scene. The band formed in 1969, in Boulder, Colorado. The group’s original lineup consisted of vocalist/keyboardist Kris Moe, guitarist Linn Philips, Mick Manresa on guitars and vocals (the original “Flash”), saxophonist George Robinson, Warren Butch on bass and Harold Fielden on drums. Manresa, the first “Flash,” as well as Fielden left the band, and Sam McFadin (the second “Flash”) and John Masino came to take their place. The band later moved from Colorado to Los Angeles. They rose to fame by appearances on the American Bandstand and subsequently and most successfully, on the movie American Graffiti where they portrayed Herbie and Heartbeats and covered their own versions of “At the Hop” “Louie, Louie” as well as their original song “She’s So Fine.” As recording artists, Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids’ biggest hit was “Did You Boogie (With Your Baby)”, a Top 40 hit in 1976. In later years the band (now as just Flash Cadillac) moved back to Colorado and bought a ranch there, where they also built a modern recording studio and produced most of their subsequent records; some of the members had also lived there. Philips passed away in 1993 due to a heart attack, McFadin died in 2001 from the same condition, and Moe died in 2005 after a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis aka “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
Formation and early years
Retro rock ‘n roll band Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids were formed in the spring of 1969. The band composed of Mick “Flash” Manresa as guitarist and leader, keyboardist Kris Moe, bassist Warren Knight, guitarist Linn Phillips and drummer Harold Fielden. All of them were schoolmates at the University of Colorado at the time they formed their own band. On March 7, 1969, they had their stage debut held at a frat house near the university campus. It was also their first paying gig.
Professional music career
In 1971, Manresa decided to pursue his studies so the remaining members had to search for a new front man. They didn’t take long to find for a new “Flash,” — a fan of the band named Sam McFadin (who hailed from Winfield, Colorado) auditioned for them, who eventually took him in as their new front man.
With McFadin as the new “Flash,” Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids flew to Los Angeles and gained quick popularity in the music business. The band even had appearances on a few television series (American Bandstand and Happy Days) and movies (American Graffiti and Apocalypse Now). In 1973, they received a platinum award for the American Graffiti soundtrack.
The band later shortened their name to “Flash Cadillac.” Throughout their career, they had released three albums and some singles which entered the Billboard charts including “Good Times, Rock & Roll” (#94 pop, 1974). The achieved their only Top 40 hit with “Did You Boogie (with Your Baby)” which peaked at #29 in 1976. Around the late 1970’s, they bought a little ranch near Woodland Park where they built a high-end recording studio. In 1997, they released the album Rock and Roll Rules which contained 13 songs.
Sam McFadin died in March 1993 due to heart failure and Linn Phillips died with the same illness on August 2001. Moe also passed away due to a disease popularly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease” (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).