Scott McKenzie, who died Saturday at home in Silver Lake, is best known for singing the ballad "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)," which beckoned the youth of the world to come to the first Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 and became an anthem of that year's Summer of Love in Haight-Ashbury. The song, written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas and released by Lou Adler's Ode Records, went as high as No. 4 on the Billboard chart but was No. 1 across Europe. I've heard this song on the airwaves and elsewhere probably three hundred times and long ago tuned it out. For some reason, this rendition from the Monterey festival sounds totally fresh. The video includes some pretty fun footage of the festival scene and '60s figure such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Cass Elliott just hanging around.
McKenzie was in an early 60s band called the Journeymen with Phillips, but he passed on an offer to join the Mamas and the Papas until the band came back around as a nostalgia act in the '80s. McKenzie, Phillips, Mike Love and Terry Melcher co-wrote the Beach Boys' 1988 hit "Kokomo."
McKenzie suffered from Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder that causes the immune system to attack the nervous system. He left the hospital over staff wishes and died at home, according to a fan website maintained in Australia.