Known best for his song San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair), the hippie anthem of the day, McKenzie was 73.
Well damn. That is one of my favorite songs of the period.
I never knew about the close connection with John Phillips and the Mamas & Papas.
Another 60’s icon gone. R.I.P.
No relation to Bob and Doug, I guess.
Or to Spuds, I guess…
San Francisco was a beautiful song, but I can imagine it became an albatross when you are known for one very dated, huge, hit song your entire life - despite a career that did indeed include other group(s) and songs.
He really did have a beautiful voice and sounded like an all around nice guy.
Tony Bennett has had a larger career with many hit songs, but he too will also always be known for his San Francisco song.
Maybe I should write a song about San Francisco - life long royalties and you will always be able to get a gig there for conventions and concerts?
The local obituary here in the Bay Area noted that at the time of its release it was apparently widely loathed in San Francisco. It was regarded as a Hollywood take on SF by an outsider ( the writer John Philips had based himself in LA by then ).
As a native Bay Area person (I am NOT going with Bay Area-n, for obvious reasons) yeah, lots of folks didn’t /don’t like that song. For every Haight Ashbury type in SF, there is someone who thinks that there is a very fine line between a Bohemian lifestyle and *really *needing to take a shower ;). Having some guy sing its praises and encourage kids to come to SF to expand those ranks? Thanks, no.
The Deadhead/Hippie/Summer of Love thing is a small slice of SF, alongside the Beats, Castro Street, the Mission, etc…
Beatles guitarist George Harrison was also disappointed the Haight-Ashbury scene didn’t live up to the picture painted in the song. “I went there expecting it to be a brilliant place, with groovy gypsy people making works of art and paintings and carvings in little workshops,” he said in “The Beatles Anthology.” “But it was full of horrible spotty drop-out kids on drugs, and it turned me right off the whole scene.”
From the aforementioned obituary.
He also wrote Kokomo for The Beach Boys.