Scott McKenzie, singer of 'San Francisco,' dies at 73

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Scott McKenzie, singer of 'San Francisco,' dies at 73

Postby oldschooljamz87 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:22 am

Talented singer and songwriter, Scott McKenzie, states Wikipedia, died on Saturday, August 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. In memory, be sure and wear some flowers in your hair!

Scott McKenzie was best known for singing the 1967 hit single, "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)." It was written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas.

McKenzie (Philip Blonheim) was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but he grew up in North Carolina and Virginia. He moved from Florida, with his family, when he was only a baby (six months old).

By the 1950s, this future talented singer and guitarist grew up, becoming friends with the son of one of his mother's friends, John Phillips. In the mid-1950s he sang briefly with Tim Rose in a high school group called The Singing Strings, and later with Phillips, Mike Boran and Bill Cleary formed a doo wop band, The Abstracts.

In New York, The Abstracts became The Smoothies, and they recorded two singles with Decca Records.

"[We] were working at one of the last great night clubs, The Elmwood Casino in Windsor, Ontario. We were part of a variety show, three acts, dancing girls, and the entire cast took part in elaborate, choreographed stage productions.

As you might imagine, after-show parties were common. At one of these parties I complained that nobody could understand my real name... [and] pointed out that this was a definite liability in a profession that benefited from instant name recognition.

Everyone started trying to come up with a new name for me. It was [comedian] Jackie Curtis who said he thought I looked like a Scottie dog. Phillips came up with Laura's middle name after Jackie's suggestion. I didn't like being called "Scottie" so everybody agreed my new name could be Scott McKenzie." - Scott McKenzie

In 1961 Phillips and McKenzie met Dick Weissman and formed The Journeymen, which recorded three albums and seven singles for Capitol Records.

After The Beatles became popular in 1964, The Journeymen disbanded. McKenzie and Weissman became solo performers, while Phillips formed the group The Mamas & the Papas with Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot and Michelle Phillips. McKenzie moved to California.

McKenzie originally declined an opportunity to join the group (The Mamas & the Papas), saying in a 1977 interview,

"I was trying to see if I could do something by myself. And I didn't think I could take that much pressure."

Phillips wrote and co-produced "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)" for McKenzie. Phillips also played guitar on the recording.

"San Francisco" was released on May 13, 1967 in the United States. It was an instant hit!

McKenzie followed "San Francisco" with "Like An Old Time Movie," also written and produced by Phillips, and it was a minor hit. In addition, McKenzie co-wrote the number one single for the Beach Boys, "Kokomo" (1988).

McKenzie's first album, The Voice of Scott McKenzie, was followed with an album called Stained Glass Morning. He stopped recording in the early 1970s and lived in Joshua Tree, California and Virginia Beach.

Singing was not McKenzie's only passion, as he tried out acting as well, and had this to say about it,

"I played a 50-year-old general in John Loves Mary, which was a hit on Broadway back in 1949... In the original production, Ronald Reagan played the role I had!"

In 1986 Scott McKenzie began singing again. He sang with a new version of The Mamas & the Papas. The band consisted of Terry Melcher, Mike Love and John Phillips.

By 1998 McKenzie had retired from the road version of The Mamas & Papas, and he resided in Los Angeles, California. Soon he came out of retirement, in 2001, to appear at a tribute concert in Los Angeles for John Phillips.

On August 18th the world lost a wonderful entertainer. Condolences go out to family, friends and fans. Remember, in memory of Scott McKenzie, wear some flowers in your hair!

For more on McKenzie go to Scott McKenzie.Info, and also find him at Facebook.

Sad news, RIP
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Re: Scott McKenzie, singer of 'San Francisco,' dies at 73

Postby dunhill » Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:35 pm

It's strange, I did not see or hear any news yesterday, but I had a funny feeling that something bad had happened. I did not know then what it was...

Goodbye, Scott. It was a pleasure meeting you back in 1990! You will be greatly missed! :cry:
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Re: Scott McKenzie, singer of 'San Francisco,' dies at 73

Postby Eran » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:45 am

This is profoundly saddening news... :(

There were some priceless gems on those solo albums, gone missed and overlooked by so many, so I won't wear a flower in my hair today because Scott McKenzie was more than just a one hit wonder. I'll play some Journeymen and the solo albums and well...just give thanks that Michelle Phillips is still very much alive and kicking.
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Re: Scott McKenzie, singer of 'San Francisco,' dies at 73

Postby Rbcsoup » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:31 am

Scott was a dear man and a devoted friend. He had his own brightness that was sometimes missed given the luminaries with whom he mixed.

A propos to the board one of my favorite captured moments (or series of moments) is Cass' introduction of him at Monterey before he sang "San Francisco." Sweet in the true sense of the word.

Scott was a great resource for history in the past twenty years when survivors and veterans of The Mamas and The Papas story dwindled. I will miss him!

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Re: Scott McKenzie, singer of 'San Francisco,' dies at 73

Postby Owen Elliot-Kugell » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:44 am

We are all so very sad that our Scott has moved on. He will be missed by many. I feel blessed to have been able to hug and squeeze him a couple of weeks ago, at the hospital.

Sleep well Sweet Scott. Make some music up there with your friends..
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Re: Scott McKenzie, singer of 'San Francisco,' dies at 73

Postby Nicole » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:52 am

Hi everyone,
I agree, Scott McKenzie was more than just a one hit wonder. I will miss him. My prayers and thoughts are with his family and friends. God Bless you, Scott. "What'll I do, now that you've gone away, and I'm missing you, what'll I do"? (from the Journeymen's cover of "What'll I Do) :cry:
Take care,
Nicole :mrgreen:
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Re: Scott McKenzie, singer of 'San Francisco,' dies at 73

Postby RichieRich53 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:33 am

I often wished the Mamas and the Papas had recorded a version of San Francisco, but Scott defined the song with his beatiful voice. Rest in Peace.

LA Times obituary: ... 6690.story
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Re: Scott McKenzie, singer of 'San Francisco,' dies at 73

Postby CassFanForLife » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:51 am

Hi, although I didn't know until a day or so later of Scott's passing...He has now left the Earthly Building...hoping he's found newfound joy and has reunited with all his buddies in Heaven for a great LoveFest...

This is my dedication :

" Ode To Scott "

Mr . San Fransico Flower Man
Who was also a Jouney Man too
Was friends amongst many, not just a few
...He had a velvet voice and a sharp wit
And if if he didn't like something, well
Perhaps his answer was ..." I don't give a cat's a**s***
Now he 's left the Earthly plain
I suppose has reunited with those true friends before him once again
Never forgotten
Your memories and music will carry on
But we are sad that you are now gone
Go onward, free to trot
God Bless You Scott...
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Re: Scott McKenzie, singer of 'San Francisco,' dies at 73

Postby Nicole » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:33 am

Hi Cassfan,
Thanks for the great poem. I love Scott's version of "Twelve Thirty" on The Voice of Scott McKenzie. He was the forst artist signed to Ode Records.
Take care,
Nicole :mrgreen:
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