Scott McKenzie, who sang the 1960s hit ‘San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)’, has died, aged 73.
The singer-songwriter passed away in his LA home on Saturday (August 18).
He had been in and out of hospital since being diagnosed two years ago with Guillaine-Barré syndrome, a disease of the nervous system, and had been “very ill” in recent weeks, according to his official website, Scottmckenzie.info.
A statement added:
It is with much sadness that we report the passing of Scott McKenzie in LA on 18th August, 2012. Scott had been very ill recently and passed away in his home after two weeks in hospital.
It went on: “It has been our pleasure to maintain this web site over the past 15 years and this is the hardest update of them all. Farewell our much loved and wonderful friend.”
The singer was a close friend of The Mamas And The Papas’ John Phillips, who wrote and produced the San Francisco track which became a global hit and an anthem for the 1960s counterculture movement.
Born Philip Wallach Blondheim in January 1939, the singer grew up in North Carolina where he lived with his grandparents while his widowed mother worked in Washington DC.
As a teenager, he met Phillips and formed a doowop band called The Abstracts. They moved to New York and became The Smoothies, where they played on the club circuit and recorded two singles. It was at this stage in his career that he changed his name, after complaints that Blondheim was unpronounceable, and comments by comedian Jackie Curtis that he looked like a Scottie dog – hence Scott.
McKenzie declined an invitation to join The Mamas And The Papas in favour of becoming a solo star, but the two remained close friends. He returned to music in the late 80s when he replaced first Denny Doherty, and then an ailing Phillips, in a touring version of The Mamas And The Papas.
He also co-wrote The Beach Boys hit ‘Kokomo’.