Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids
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Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids, now known as Flash Cadillac, are an American retro rock 'n' roll band. They are best known for their portrayal of the group Herbie and the Heartbeats in the film American Graffiti, to which they contributed three songs: cover versions of "At the Hop" and "Louie, Louie", and the original composition "She's So Fine".
The band began in 1969 in Boulder, Colorado at the University of Colorado with Kris Moe as the keyboardist, Linn Phillips guitar, Warren Knight on bass, Harold Fielden on drums and Mick "Flash" Manresa as front man and guitar. The band got its name, "Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids" from Hughey Plumley who spent most of his time in the back of a Boulder bar, The Sink, and who entertained himself by creating names for bands.
Kris Moe and Charlie Phillips (Linn's brother) were college roommates, and that is how Kris came to meet Linn and form the band which performed for the first time in February 1969 at a frathouse party. When the original "Flash," the lead singer and several other band members decided to return to school in 1971, Kris Moe, Linn Phillips and Warren Knight decided to replace "Flash" and auditioned and eventually hired Sam McFadin from Widefield, Colorado. They then moved to LA to try to break into the big time. The LA house they lived in was called "The Tiltin' Hilton".
Rise to prominence
They appeared on American Bandstand - one of the only bands to do so without having released an album. They were offered the job of playing the band Herbie and the Heartbeats in the George Lucas movie, American Graffiti. Later they appeared in an episode of the TV show Happy Days as Johnny Fish and the Fins, and in the 1979 movie Apocalypse Now. The band commissioned surf artist Jim Evans to paint the cover of their third album, Sons of the Beaches.
The band hit the hot 100 in 1974 with their version of the Barry Blue/Lynsey De Paul classic, "Dancing on a Saturday Night" and then again in 1976 with "Did You Boogie (With Your Baby)" (peaking at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100) from their album Sons of the Beaches.
When they were in their 30s, they dropped "& the Continental Kids" from the Flash Cadillac name as they decided that as 30-year-old men, they should not be called kids anymore. Becoming tired of the Los Angeles music scene, in 1976, the band purchased a large ranch near Westcreek, Colorado where they built a state of the art recording studio. Some of the band members lived there. Kris Moe lived in a geodesic dome on the property for many years. Most of their later albums were produced there. Charlie Phillips now owns the ranch and studio. Most of the original members are long gone. Linn Phillips died of a heart attack when the band came off stage after a show in Tulsa, OK in 1993. Subsequently, Sam McFadin died of a heart attack in August 2001 at his home in Colorado Springs, and almost 4 years later Kris Moe died after a long struggle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) in July 2005 at his home in Woodland Park, Colorado. Original bass player Warren Knight and long-time member Dwight Bement on sax still play and tour with additional members as Flash Cadillac.