Scott McKenzie, singer of ‘San Francisco (Be sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair),’ dead at 73

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    News Scott McKenzie, singer of ‘San Francisco (Be sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair),’ dead at 73

    Post by Tony Marino on Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:31 pm

    Scott McKenzie, whose song "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" helped flood that town with hippies in the summer of 1967, died Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 73.

    He had been suffering since 2010 from Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disease that affects the nervous system.

    He had been in and out of the hospital, and his website said he suffered an apparent heart attack earlier this month, but checked himself out to go home.

    "San Francisco," released in May 1967, became a top-five hit, and its indelible melody has endured as one of the signature sounds of the short-lived "flower power" counterculture.

    The song was also widely satirized and parodied as the epitome of hippie-dippy music, with its assertion that "you'll meet some gentle people / With flowers in their hair. ... Summertime will be a love-in there."

    It helped make San Francisco the media epicenter of the counterculture that summer, though the reality didn't always line up with the lyrics.

    The late Beatle George Harrison wrote that when he went to San Francisco that summer, expecting to feel the vibes he heard in the song, he instead found an unpleasant tension that caused him to turn around and leave.

    McKenzie stood by the message in the song, which was his only hit and was written by his longtime friend John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas.

    Born Philip Blondheim in Jacksonville, Fla., and raised in North Carolina and Virginia, McKenzie joined Phillips in high school to form a vocal group called the Singing Strings.

    They went through several name and personnel changes before becoming the Journeymen, a folk-style group that recorded several albums in the early 1960s.

    When the Journeymen broke up, McKenzie declined Phillips' offer to join the Mamas and the Papas, trying for a solo career instead.

    After "San Francisco" and several unsuccessful followups, he left the music business in the early 1970s. He lived for a time in Joshua Tree, Calif., then Virginia Beach.

    He returned in the late 1980s as a member of the touring Mamas and Papas, at different times replacing both Phillips and Denny Doherty.

    n 1988, he, Phillips and Terry Melcher wrote "Kokomo," a No. 1 hit for the Beach Boys.

    McKenzie did a few more recording sessions and live gigs in his last years. According to his website, he became a major fan of Facebook, where he was posting poetry until Aug. 12.

    His last poem was called "The Final Ride." It fondly recalled Joshua Tree and didn't mention San Francisco.

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    News Re: Scott McKenzie, singer of ‘San Francisco (Be sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair),’ dead at 73

    Post by Shale on Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:55 pm

    Boy that song brot back some memories. Maybe you had to put some flowers in your bong to really appreciate the scene in San Francisco.

    I didn't get to SF until the summer of 1970 and it was pretty burned out by then. But you still ran into some heads who were into the flower scene. It was a great "summer" (I actually wore a P-coat in July) experience for me even if I caught the dregs of the movement.

    If it's the right direction - swim upstream.

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