San Francisco

Official Information on the Single "San Francisco":
Title: San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair).
Written by: John Phillips.
Performed by: Scott McKenzie.
Published by: MCA Music Publishing, a Division of MCA, Inc Courtesy of Epic Records.
Released: June 10, 1967.
Billboard chart peak: Number 4.

San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair) was recorded in an all night session at the L.A. Sound Factory.  John Phillips, who wrote the song, played guitar on the track and also doubled as co-producer with Lou Adler.  With the line ...For those who go to San Francisco, summertime will be a love-in there, it was to serve as the ultimate advertisement for the upcoming Monterey Pop Festival.  The song was being played by coastal radio stations within days of its recording, with station KRLA playing the song six straight times when it first arrived.  When the song was officially released in May of 1967 it was an instant hit going as high as #4 on the charts.

Billboard Review:
Top 20 Pop Spotlights (5/13/67) SCOTT MCKENZIE -- San Francisco (Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair) (Prod. John Phillips & Lou Adler) (Writer: Phillips) (Trousdale, BMI) Composed by John Phillips who co-produced it with Lou Adler, this sensitive, emotional ballad based upon the West Coast love movement will fast put the Ode label at the top of the Hot 100. Should also prove a starmaker for the former Journeyman singer. Excellent disk for a summer smash. Flip: What’s the Difference (Hollenbeck, BMI).

In answer to who the musicians were that played on San Francisco, this is Scott's response.

The bass player was Joe Osborne, a member of "The Wrecking Crew", a trio of studio musicians who are, I believe, the only sidemen ever inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame, which invented the "sidemen" category mainly for them.

The other two members were its leader, drummer Hal Blaine, who has since written at least one book about those days, and keyboardist Larry Knechtel, who became part of Bread with singer David Gates. Knechtel's nickname was "three hands".

Osborne's bass playing was truly unique; he invented the style of using a flat pick rather than his fingertips to strike the strings, resulting in the unmistakable crisp sound. He also played many guitar tracks. In the sixties the guitar player who often made up a fourth member of The Wrecking Crew was named Glen Campbell.

Joe, Hal and Larry played innumerable hit singles -- for the Everly Brothers, Sam Cooke, Sinatra, the M's & P's, Simon and Garfunkle (listen to the piano on Bridge Over Troubled Water), most of producers Phil Spector's and Lou Adler's records, etc, etc, etc.

Their collective and individual sounds were original and became unmistakable. Drummers, keyboardists and bassists have studied their styles for decades.

Scott had recorded two singles, no album for Capital Records in 1964.  Also prior to San Francisco he recorded "No No No No No", an English lyric to a French song and another John Phillips song called "Holy Man"  John Phillips sang uncredited with Scott on "No No No No No", the Wrecking Crew played on both.

Text

If you're going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you're going to San Francisco
You're gonna meet some gentle people there
For those who come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there.
In the streets of San Francisco
Gentle people with flowers in their hair.
All across the nation such a strange vibration.
People in motion.
There's a whole generation with a new explanation.
People in motion. People in motion.
For those who come to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.
If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there.
If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there.