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San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)


Scott McKenzie

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

John Phillips from The Mamas And The Papas wrote this as the unofficial anthem for the Monterey Pop Festival, which is near San Francisco. Phillips helped organize the festival.
This has the longest title of any #1 in UK.
John Phillips played guitar on this track and produced it with Lou Adler. The session musicians who played on it were top notch: Joe Osborne on bass, Hal Blaine on drums and Larry Knechtel on keyboards. They were some of the first call Los Angeles musicians who played on many of Phil Spector's productions.
Scott McKenzie wore flowers in his hair when he recorded this song.
McKenzie was in a group called The Journeymen with John Phillips. His only other hit was the follow up to this "Like An Old Time Movie," and by the end of the '60s he'd gone to live in the desert. In the late '80s he co-wrote the Beach Boys #1 single "Kokomo." (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above)
This was one of the big Hippie hits during the Summer Of Love in 1967. Many peace activists and Folkies wore flowers in their hair.
Jimi Hendrix wrote "Little Wing" about the Monterey Pop Festival.
Scott McKenzie
More Scott McKenzie songs
Get some Geography in the San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair) Songplaces
More songs with names of cities in the title
More songs that were Hippie anthems
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Comments (24):

in "67" I was 20.
- smitty, Belpre, OH
Wow, what a great song. I loved it when I was young and still love it now that I'm old(er)
- smitty, Belpre, OH
People in motion = on psychedelic drugs.
- Scott, Lincoln, NE
Keith Major, I also question this. I thought it was Calling occupants of interplanetary craft, etc, etc, by the Carpenters
- bill, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
I really like this song. It really gives me a glimpse into what the hippies in the '60's were thinking and behaving like... I wish I could've been in San Francisco during that time... =)
- Julia, Richland, WA
Scott McKenzie has said that he has two voices, an "A" and a "B" voice. If you listen to the many other songs he recorded (on two albums and some isolated singles he released) you realize that his voice was great in all of them with some variation in the smoothness of his delivery. However, on "San Francisco" his voice has got to be "A++" in comparison. Let's hope that it was the "place that he was in" at that time rather than the drugs his friend John Phillips might have been making available that was responsible!
- Stu, Suffern, NY
I was flying from Pittsburg, Pa to San Francisco enroute to Vietnam when I heard this song. To this day, tears still come to my eyes when I hear it.
- Dave, Scottdale, PA
No song better sums up the great haight ashbury days than this song.Just a beautifully written song.a moment of greatness .
- Mark, byrdstown, TN
you hit it on the head.
That song missed up a good scene.
It also started the S.F.P.F. to start
the runaway sweep's.
- Bob, Roseville, CO
1967 was definitely the turning point in rock and roll music and this song led the way to the hippy movement, psychedelia, peace, and love.
- Donovan, Sacramento, CA
One of my favorite all time classics. Hard to believe this song is forty years old.
- Tom, Dozier, AL
I've always like this, but it is truly what movie people call a period piece.

The instrumentation includes the sitar, the Indian instrument made famous by Ravi Shankar. Its distinctive sound became a symbol of the counterculture: whenever you hear it, you know you're supposed to be imagining flower children exploring Eastern religions in search of inner peace or something.

At the time this came out, the exceedingly large 1947 crop of boomers was about twenty years old; just shy of adulthood and either in Viet Nam or college, trying to figure it all out. Things were starting to become more and more political, and by the time it was released the song was regarded as, well, hokey. People were still going to San Francisco, I suppose, but it was getting old, already, and the song struck everyone as an attempt to commercialize the ideals of our generation.

Whatever they were.
- Mark, Lancaster, OH
Many young (and some not-so-young) adults interpreted this as a call to join a growing movement of peace, love, being and creativity, centered in San Francisco. The Time magazine articles "The Generation Gap" (January 6, 1967) and "The Hippies" (July 7, 1967) further encouraged curiosity and migration to the mecca where it was reportedly all happening. The hippie movement actually started in 1964-5 and peaked in about October 1966 - January 1967. Heroin, meth, rape, and violence were taking over the streets by the time Mackenzie's song appeared. Most real hippies had left, heading 'back to the land' in a search for self-sufficiency.
- Ekristheh, Halath, United States
Great Song...Great Year...Live Forever!
- Chad, Baltimore, MD
Good song! Haven't heard it in awhile.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
If you were a "hippy" it was a good song to be sure. I was and made the trip to Mecca(San Fransico)just down the coast from here say just to I did it. What a terrific city then and now. Great tune!
- greg, Victoria, Canada
This is such a beautiful songs and one of many favorites. The music is enchanting and lyrics flow with the music.
- Roberto, Las Cruces, NM
What's not to get, Keith?
- Linus, Hamilton, ON, Canada
In the Led Zeppelin movie "the Song Remains the Same" during their nearly half an hour version live of "Dazed and Confused" the band was jamming, and Robert Plant (the lead singer) started to sing "if your going to sanfrasico.... be sure to wear some flowers in your hair...." and so on, it was pretty cool
- Danny, vancouver, United States
I remember this song ; it was a great succes, a real good song of the sixties. I didn't know John Phillips from the Mamas and the Papas wrote this song. I like it very much.
"If you're goin' to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair ....".
- Teresa, Mechelen, Belgium
John Phillips named his daughter, from his first marriage, Mackenzie - in honor of his long-time friend Scott McKenzie.
- Frank, Westminster, SC
i actually think Forrest sang backing vocals
- pete, nowra, Australia
The longest song title to date in the UK singles chart......?
- Keith Major, Bristol, England
The song is also on the Forrest Gump movie, and it's in the Forrest gump sound track too.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
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