Since I was ten, the song, “San Francisco” has been a constant companion, both in my mind and whatever way I found to physically replay it.  Ask either of my children, and they can sing the song to you.  The song, although written by John Phillips of Mamas and Papas fame, is still, in every way, Scott McKenzie’s song.  It is also our song; yours and mine.

“San Francisco” embodies an ideal.  For many, it may be an outdated song.  Good for its time but something not relevant to the age in which we now find ourselves.  For others, the song is rich in a thought that, sadly, crosses few minds anymore.  For the rest of us, it’s still an anthem.  It still contains a hope.

The singer of that song, Scott McKenzie, is forever entwined in it.  However, on August 18, the voice of “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)” left the earth at the young age of 73, after an extended affliction with GBS, a rare paralytic disease that can affect respiratory function.  While his death reminds us of our own mortality, his song (and yes, it is his song) reminds us of our capabilities.

Peace amongst ourselves and throughout the world increasingly seems like an impossibilty.  And it may well be beyond our grasp.  But MacKenzie’s beautiful and involving version of “San Francisco” serves as a very real reminder that at least one generation believed in the peace he sang about, and the generation coming up behind that one was, at least, influenced by it.

Many of us will miss the singer of the song.  He made us believe in peace.  And gentle people with flowers in their hair.


By MARowe

5 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Scott McKenzie”
  1. I was just in San Francisco and before I left, I told my wife I needed to buy some flowers. She looked at me oddly for a second until I said, “Well, I am going to San Francisco.” She immediately knew what I was referring to. RIP, Mr. McKenzie.

  2. Sad on many levels. After all the dust had settled, that song may be the anthem for the 60’s. Sadly, now distant history.

  3. Thank you for sharing that information, Matt. I was born in 1970 so I wasn’t quite around for that era, but I have always enjoyed the spirit of the times and I love that song.

  4. It’s sad, indeed, that he has gone. Yes, the song spoke to a time that was gone by the time the song was a national hit, but it stands as an embodiment of our hopes for the decade. He was a fine Singer and I wish his spirit peace.

  5. This song was the song that brought me to music. Flower Power was slightly before my time but I will never forget boarding a bus in Glasgow and saw 2 girls with flower tattoos on their cheeks, wonderful. My favourite song of all time and what a wonderful philosophy is contained it it. RIP Scott McKenzie.

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