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

Album: San Francisco (1967)
Charted: 1 4
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Songplace
  • 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 Osborn 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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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.
  • This plays in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump as Jenny (Robin Wright) moves to San Francisco.
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Comments: 26

  • Mavis from Upper MidwestOne of those songs that can transport you back in time. Not one of my favorites, but it sure takes me back to June, 1967 every time I hear it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 21st 1967, "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)" by Scott McKenzie entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #98; five weeks later on June 25th, 1967 it would peak at #4 {for 4 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 12 weeks...
    As already stated, it reached #1 in the United Kingdom, and it also reached the top spot in New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, and Norway...
    Later in 1967 in November the Bee Gees released "Massachusetts", a 'some what' of an answer record to "San Francisco"...
    Scott McKenzie, born Philip Wallach Blondheim, passed away on August 18th, 2012 at the age of 73...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Smitty from Belpre, Ohin "67" I was 20.
  • Smitty from Belpre, OhWow, what a great song. I loved it when I was young and still love it now that I'm old(er)
  • Scott from Lincoln, NePeople in motion = on psychedelic drugs.
  • Bill from Kota Kinabalu, MalaysiaKeith Major, I also question this. I thought it was Calling occupants of interplanetary craft, etc, etc, by the Carpenters
  • Julia from Richland, WaI 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... =)
  • Stu from Suffern, NyScott 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!
  • Dave from Scottdale, PaI 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.
  • Mark from Byrdstown, TnNo song better sums up the great haight ashbury days than this song.Just a beautifully written song.a moment of greatness .
  • Bob from Roseville, CoEkristheh,
    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.
  • Donovan from Sacramento, Ca1967 was definitely the turning point in rock and roll music and this song led the way to the hippy movement, psychedelia, peace, and love.
  • Tom from Dozier, AlOne of my favorite all time classics. Hard to believe this song is forty years old.
  • Mark from Lancaster, OhI'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.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesMany 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.
  • Chad from Baltimore, MdGreat Song...Great Year...Live Forever!
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScGood song! Haven't heard it in awhile.
  • Greg from Victoria, CanadaIf 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!
  • Roberto from Las Cruces, NmThis is such a beautiful songs and one of many favorites. The music is enchanting and lyrics flow with the music.
  • Linus from Hamilton, On, CanadaWhat's not to get, Keith?
  • Danny from Vancouver, United StatesIn 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
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumI 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 ....".
  • Frank from Westminster, ScJohn Phillips named his daughter, from his first marriage, Mackenzie - in honor of his long-time friend Scott McKenzie.
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiai actually think Forrest sang backing vocals
  • Keith Major from Bristol, EnglandThe longest song title to date in the UK singles chart......?
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScThe song is also on the Forrest Gump movie, and it's in the Forrest gump sound track too.
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