Scott McKenzie, whose Summer of Love anthem “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” became synonymous with the counterculture movement in 1967, has died.
McKenzie, 73, died Saturday (Aug. 18) at his home in Los Angeles. He had suffered from Guillain Barre Syndrome in recent years.
“It is with much sadness that we report the passing of Scott McKenzie in LA on 18th August, 2012. Scott had been very ill recently and passed away in his home after two weeks in hospital,” a statement on his website reads.
McKenzie (born Philip Blondheim) performed with several folk groups in the early 1960s, including The Journeymen with long-time friend John Phillips. When that group broke up, Phillips invited McKenzie to join The Mamas & the Papas, but he declined, choosing instead to try a solo career.
Phillips wrote and co-produced “San Francisco,” which was an instant hit on its release in May 1967. It reached the Top 5 on the U.S. charts and was No. 1 in several other countries. He recorded two albums before leaving the business in the early ’70s, although he sang with a reconstituted version of The Mamas & the Papas in the 1980s and co-wrote the 1988 Beach Boys hit “Kokomo.”
Here’s video of McKenzie performing “San Francisco” on the German TV show “Beat-Club” in 1967.