Scott McKenzie

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Scott McKenzie , actually Philip Wallach Blondheim , (born January 10, 1939 in Jacksonville Beach , Florida , † August 18, 2012 in Los Angeles , California ) was an American singer , songwriter and guitarist .


Scott was born Philip Blondheim on January 10, 1939 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. He lived there for six months before his family moved to Asheville, North Carolina. His father died in 1941. He grew up in North Carolina and Virginia and befriended John Phillips , the son of a friend of his mother's (who later co-founded the group The Mamas and the Papas , who also composed his later world hit San Francisco should bring).

Musical beginnings

In the mid-1950s, he sang briefly with Tim Rose in a high school group called The Singing Strings, and later, in the early 1960s, formed the doo-wop band The Abstracts with John Phillips, Mike Boran and Bill Cleary . In New York, The Abstracts became The Smoothies and recorded two singles with Decca Records, which were produced by Milt Gabler. The group was essentially led by John Phillips . While at The Smoothies, Blondheim decided to change his name for business reasons:

"[We] were performing at one of the last big nightclubs, Elmwood Casino in Windsor, Ontario. We were part of a variety show that was very popular in the big clubs - for a while at least - ... three acts, girls dancing and the whole ensemble was involved in an elaborately choreographed stage production ... In the main act there was a group of comedians. As you can imagine, there were usually after-show parties afterwards. At one of these parties I complained that nobody Understood my real name (most don't understand “Blondheim” or pronounce it incorrectly). I tried to make people understand that in a job that relied on quick identification by name, there was definitely a shortcoming Everyone started trying to find a new name for me. At one point, Jackie Curtis [comedian] said he thought I looked like a "Scottie Dog" ( Scottish Terrier ), and Phillips then hit Laur the middle name (Laura Mackenzie Phillips , daughter of John Phillips). Since I didn't like being called "Scottie", we all agreed that my new name should be Scott McKenzie. "

In 1961, Phillips and McKenzie met Dick Weissman, a notable banjo player, and founded the folk group The Journeymen , three albums (including live document) and six singles for the record company at the height of the folk music wave that was emerging in the USA at the time Capitol Records released.

After other styles of music became popular with the advent of the Beatles , the record company lost interest and the group disbanded in 1964. McKenzie and Weissman sought a solo career, while Phillips with Denny Doherty , Cass Elliot and Michelle Phillips , the group The Mamas & the Papas founded and headed to California.

McKenzie originally declined to join the group. In 1977 he said in an interview: "I was trying to find out if I could do something myself. And I didn't think that I could withstand so much pressure." Two years later he left New York and signed with Lou Adler 's Ode Records. One of Ode's most famous artists at the time was Carole King .

Initially, three singles appeared on Capitol Records / Epic Records between 1965 and 1966 , but they received little attention. Only the fourth single on Ode Records should bring the breakthrough:

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

In the spring of 1967 McKenzie recorded the title San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair), written by Phillips . Originally, San Francisco was intended as a promotional song for the upcoming Monterey Pop Festival . a. was organized by John Phillips. Phillips also worked as a co-producer. During the recording, Phillips played guitar and session musician Gary L Coleman played the orchestra bells and carillon. Session musician Joe Osborn provided the bass line for the song, while Hal Blaine played the drums.

The song became a million seller and the hymn of the “ hippie culture”. In many number 1 countries, including Germany and Great Britain, it reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 2 on the Canadian RPM Magazine charts. The single sold over 70 million times worldwide. The song has been covered several times and has also been used in numerous films, the most famous example being Forrest Gump .

The Monterey Pop Festival finally took place from June 16 to June 18, 1967 at the Monterey County Fairground in California . Along with many other popular musicians of the time, Sott McKenzie was the last artist to appear before the finale with the Mamas and Papas. After the announcement by Mama Cass , the song San Francisco was performed live. Even today, Monterey is considered the musical prelude to the so-called "hippie culture" ( Flower Power , Love and Peace Generation ). The movement and also the musical direction of that time are closely connected to the simultaneous events in the Vietnam War and should be viewed as a consequence of it. McKenzie posted the following comment on a website:

“When San Francisco was released in the spring of 1967, my country was in chaos. Already haunted by political assassinations, we were bitterly divided over the escalating war in Vietnam and the bloodshed from hatred and violence, many in response to non-violent civil rights demonstrations and protests ... even when so many of us lost hope when the Summer of Love turned into a winter of desperation, our music helped us stay alive and carry us into a world we hoped to change… ”- Scott McKenzie

Since San Francisco is by far its biggest hit, it has always been perceived by the public as a one-hit wonder. McKenzie is said to have said on stage that for a one-hit wonder, San Francisco is just the right hit. McKenzie has also announced that each of his performances of the song in the US is dedicated to the Vietnam veterans.

The time after the world hit and working for other artists

With Like An Old Time Movie he had another hit. Also composed and produced by Phillips, this was a much smaller hit (number 24 in Great Britain, 27 in Canada, 36 in Germany). In the same year his first solo album The Voice of Scott McKenzie was released . However, since the season around the hype of the Summer of Love was just about to fade , the album was only moderately successful. The single Look In Your Eyes was re-released, but without reaching a significant chart placement. The two hit singles San Francisco and Like An Old Time Movie each received a B-side piece from McKenzie's trilogy What's The Difference . Which was continued until the following single Holy Man in the next year.

1968 McKenzie wrote for Anne Murray the play What About Me . The song was used as the title track for her debut album and again helped Murray break through.

In 1970 another album followed with the title Stained Glass Morning , which this time consisted entirely of his own compositions. Meanwhile, Scott McKenzie had turned his back on the hippie movement. In contrast to its radio-compatible predecessor, this time it was a pure folk album with plenty of influences from country, blues and some gospel accents. This time the Vietnam War is addressed in a completely different, sober way. The album is fundamentally different from its predecessor. With regard to the flower power movement, there is more of a plaintive mood of disillusionment. Only the track Going Home Again was released as a single . Neither album nor single received much attention.

In the early seventies McKenzie withdrew as much as possible from the musical hype. In 1970 he moved to Joshua Tree , a California desert town near Palm Springs .

In 1973 he went to Virginia Beach, Virginia, for the next ten years. In the same year, the song What about me, composed by McKenzie, charted . Murray's live version reached No. 1 on the Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Charts and No. 2 on the US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) Charts. It became a formidable radio hit in Canada.

The old friendship between McKenzie and Phillips has lasted over the years. Both co-wrote the Beach Boys' 1988 No. 1 hit Kokomo . For the Beach Boys the song became a huge success and the first No. 1 hit in 22 years. The origin of the song goes back to 1964, when McKenzie and Phillips lived together on Saint Thomas . McKenzie's authorship of this song has been questioned by Terry Melcher , the song's producer.

Towards the end of the eighties, in addition to the wave of nostalgia for the sixties, there was also an increasing trend towards purely electronic music. In 1989 an unpopular remix from San Francisco was released as a vinyl single.

Wave of nostalgia and reflection

From 1986 to 1998 McKenzie was part of the new cast of The Mamas and the Papas , also known as "The New Mamas and Papas" and was again u. a. on tour with his old friend John Philips. In the wake of the wave of nostalgia McKenzie also performed solo. So it came to the first appearance in 1991 in the former GDR. "I performed in East Germany in 1991, and people told me how much the song meant to them as a symbol of resistance ... I had to write hundreds of autographs on old East German passports and on worthless banknotes."

In 2001, Stained Glass Reflections was a compilation that summarizes his musical activity from 1960 to 1970. Recordings from the Smoothies and Journeymen times are also included. In addition to all the important tracks, there are also some singles that were previously not available digitally. The album also contains all of the pieces from Stained Glass Morning . That same year he sang at the memorial concert for his late longtime friend John Phillips.

In 2002 he sang his biggest hit on the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of the Vietnam Memorial Wall. In 2003 Scott McKenzie appeared on a PBS Folk Special. In the same year he came to Berlin to receive the Quadriga Prize .

In March 2005 McKenzie took part in a concert entitled " My Generation - the 60's Experience " which was broadcast by PBS. In addition to his world hit San Francisco , he played the unannounced song We've Been Asking Questions, which John Phillips wrote shortly before his death in 2001.

In 2009 Scott Denny recorded Doherty 's song Gone To Sea Again . Then he finally retired from the music business.

In 2010 another sampler album was released under the title Many Mamas, Many Papas , which documents the later years of the revived Mamas and Papas by John Philips, on which u. a. McKenzie is also represented vocally and compositionally. In addition, the sampler was named John Phillips feat. Denny Doherty, Spanky McFarlane, MacKenzie Phillips & Scott McKenzie.

According to his friend Gary Hartman, McKenzie died on August 18, 2012 at the age of 73 from complications from Guillain-Barré syndrome .

Posthumously in September 2012 McKenzie's single San Francisco was re-released in the German single charts in a slightly different form. It rose to number 86 and lasted a week. In the same year an EP (Iris Music) was released with In Memoriam , which contains recording sessions from September 1964 from NYC, including some pieces that had been released as single before San Francisco and were not previously available digitally. On May 21, 2018, I-Tunes-Apple, Napster and Amazon released a high-quality live version of San Francisco from 1974 as a single download (Sunset Blvd. Records).


With The Smoothies

  • 1960: Softly / Joanie (single)
  • 1961: Lonely Boy And Pretty Girl / Ride, Ride, Ride (Single)

With The Journeymen

  • 1961: The Journeymen (album)
  • 1962: Coming Attraction - Live! (Live album)
  • 1963: New Directions In Folk Music (Album)

as well as other singles

Studio albums

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1967 The Voice of Scott McKenzie
Ode Records (US), CBS
DE39 (1 week)
- - - US127 (7 weeks)
First published: 1967
1970 Stained Glass Morning
Ode Records (US), A&M Records
- - - - -
First published: 1970

gray hatching : no chart data available for this year

more publishments

  • 1967: San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) [Identical to The Voice of Scott McKenzie]
  • 1991: San Francisco - The Very Best of
  • 1998: Spirit Voices
  • 2001: Stained Glass Reflections : Anthology, 1960-1970
  • 2005: super hits
  • 2012: In Memoriam [ EP]


year Title
Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, album , rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
DE DE AT AT CH CH UK UK US USTemplate: chart table / maintenance / charts non-existent
1967 San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)
The Voice of Scott McKenzie
DE1 (13 weeks)
AT1 (16 weeks)
CH8 (3 weeks)
UK1 (17 weeks)
US4 (12 weeks)
First published: May 1967
Like An Old Time Movie
The Voice of Scott McKenzie
DE36 (2 weeks)
- - UK50 (1 week)
US24 (7 weeks)
First published: October 1967

gray hatching : no chart data available for this year

more publishments

  • 1965: Look in Your Eyes / All I Want is You
  • 1965: There Stand the Glass / Wipe the Tears (From Your Eyes)
  • 1966: No, No, No, No, No / I Want to be Alone
  • 1970: Going Home Again / Take a Moment
  • 1989: San Francisco '89 [Remix '89]
  • 2009: Gone to Sea Again [Download Only]
  • 2018: San Francisco (Live 1974) [single download]

Guest Posts

With "The New Mamas and Papas"

  • 2010: Many Mamas, Many Papas - John Phillips feat. Denny Doherty, Spanky McFarlane, MacKenzie Phillips & Scott McKenzie

Music videos

  • 1967: San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)
  • 1967: Like An Old Time Movie

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Scott McKenzie is dead , In: Spiegel Online . August 20, 2012, accessed August 20, 2012.
  2. a b US folk singer Scott McKenzie is dead , In:, August 20, 2012, accessed on August 20, 2012.
  3. Welcome - Scott McKenzie. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  4. ^ A Change of Name - Scott McKenzie., accessed August 19, 2015 .
  5. a b Scott Mac Kenzie * - Look In Your Eyes / All I Want Is You. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  6. ^ A b Scott McKenzie - There Stands The Glass. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  7. a b Scott McKenzie - No, No, No, No, No. Retrieved July 23, 2019 .
  8. ^ Joseph Murrells: The Book of Golden Discs. 2nd Edition. Barrie and Jenkins, London 1978, ISBN 0-214-20512-6 , p. 225.
  9. Adam Sherwin: Folk singer Scott McKenzie, whose hit 'San Francisco' soundtracked the flower power movement, dies aged 73. In: . August 20, 2012, accessed September 18, 2019 .
  10. ^ San Francisco - Scott McKenzie. Retrieved September 14, 2019 .
  11. a b Last - Scott McKenzie. Retrieved March 26, 2020 .
  12. ^ Scott McKenzie - The Voice Of Scott McKenzie. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  13. a b Scott McKenzie - Stained Glass Morning. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  14. ^ A b Scott McKenzie. Retrieved July 22, 2019 .
  15. a b Scott McKenzie - San Francisco (Remix '89). Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  16. ^ Message from Scott - Scott McKenzie. Retrieved March 26, 2020 .
  17. ^ WORLD: "San Francisco": Singer Scott McKenzie died . In: THE WORLD . August 20, 2012 ( [accessed March 26, 2020]).
  18. a b Scott McKenzie - Stained Glass Reflections 1960-1970. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  19. Scott McKenzie. September 19, 2003, accessed March 26, 2020 .
  20. In red socks to the national gala. Retrieved March 26, 2020 .
  21. From the 70s - Scott McKenzie. Retrieved September 18, 2019 .
  22. a b Gone to Sea - Scott McKenzie. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  23. ^ A b John Phillips - Many Mamas, Many Papas. In: Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  24. SCOTT McKENZIE ~ IN MEMORIAM (1964 NYC) 2012 IRIS MUSIC # IMG675 CD-R MINT-. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  25. ^ A b "San Francisco (Live) - Single" by Scott McKenzie. Retrieved July 22, 2019 (UK English).
  26. ^ San Francisco. Retrieved on July 22, 2019 (German).
  27. * SMOOTHIES - doo-wop. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  28. The Journeymen. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  29. a b Chart sources: DE AT CH UK US
  30. Scott McKenzie - Super Hits. Buy whole album with 10% discount - ONLY 2.00 €. Retrieved July 21, 2019 (Russian).
  31. In Memoriam. Retrieved on July 21, 2019 (German).
  32. ^ Scott McKenzie - Going Home Again. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  33. Deizulhesque: Scott McKenzie - San Francisco 1967. July 26, 2010, accessed July 21, 2019 .
  34. ^ Billy E. Brown: Scott McKenzie - Like An Old Time Movie [1967]. June 29, 2016, accessed July 21, 2019 .