Scott McKenzie's signature song became an anthem for the hippie movement around the world in 1967, especially during the Summer of Love in San Francisco that year.
Scott was born with the name Philip Blondheim in Jacksonville, Florida in 1939. He grew up in Virginia. He became friends with the son of one of his mother's friends named John Phillips.
McKenzie and Phillips formed a doo wop band in the late 50's called the Locals. They performed together in groups under other names, including the Journeymen in 1964. They discussed forming a group called the Mamas and Papas. McKenzie wanted to perform on his own, so Phillips formed the group and eventually moved to California. McKenzie followed him there from New York City a short time later and signed with Lou Adler's Ode label, one that was styled on the growing hippie movement in California and which featured a daffodil as its logo. He recorded a song titled San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair). Written and produced by John Phillips, it proved to be enormously successful and shot into the top five on the top forty charts. Phillips played guitar on the recording and Mama Cass played bells. It was a major hit both at home and overseas, selling more than 7 million records. Scott McKenzie was portrayed as the spokesman of a "new generation with a new explanation," but his fame faded rather quickly. Later in 1967 he had his second and last top forty record, also written and produced by Phillips, titled Like An Old Time Movie.
In 1988 the Beach Boys had their final number one hit with Kokomo, a song that was written by Scott McKenzie and John Phillips. McKenzie battled Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease that affects the nervous system, and died on August 18, 2012 in Los Angeles at age 73. He is primarily regarded as a one-shot artist for his great hit from the Summer of Love, San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair).
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