Singer Scott McKenzie passed away yesterday of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. He was 73.
McKenzie rose to international stardom with his 1967 hit “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)”. It was written by the late John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas as the theme song for The Monterey Pop Festival and became an unexpected hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
The song has been both credited and blamed for drawing young people to the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco during the Summer of Love. Yet “San Francisco” also became the unofficial anthem of the Prague Spring the following year during the ill-fated peaceful uprising against Soviet rule in Czechoslovakia.
As for McKenzie, he largely dropped out of public view until the mid-1980s when he began to tour with a revamped Mamas & Papas. McKenzie also co-wrote The Beach Boys’ 1988 hit “Kokomo” along with Phillips, Beach Boy Mike Love and Terry Melcher.