San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)
|"San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)"|
|Single by Scott McKenzie|
|from the album The Voice of Scott McKenzie|
|B-side||"What's The Difference"|
|Released||May 13, 1967|
|Label||Columbia (UK and Canada)
|Producer||Lou Adler and John Phillips|
"San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" is an American pop music song, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and sung by Scott McKenzie. The song was produced and released in May 1967 by Phillips and Lou Adler, who used it to promote their Monterey International Pop Music Festival held in June of that year. John Phillips played guitar on the recording and session musician Gary L Coleman played orchestra bells and chimes. The bass line of the song was supplied by session musician Joe Osborn. Hal Blaine played drums.
The lyrics of the song tell the listeners, "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair". Due to the difference between the lyrics and the actual title, the title is often quoted as "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)". "San Francisco," released on May 13, 1967, was an instant hit. By the week ending July 1, 1967, it reached the number four spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA, where it remained for four consecutive weeks. Meanwhile, the song rose to number one in the UK and most of Europe. The single is purported to have sold over 7 million copies worldwide.
Phillips reported writing the song in about 20 minutes. The song is credited with bringing thousands of young people to San Francisco, California, during the late 1960s.
The song has been featured in several films, including Frantic, The Rock, and Forrest Gump. It was also played occasionally by Led Zeppelin as part of the improvised section in the middle of "Dazed and Confused". U2's Bono also led the audience in singing this song during their PopMart performances in the San Francisco Bay Area on June 18 and 19, 1997.
Other covers and samples
- Petula Clark also released a cover in 1967.
- Merrilee Rush released a cover in 1968.
- Between 1969 and 1979, this song had been covered by various singers and groups in Hong Kong and Singapore. Among them were The Chopsticks of Hong Kong, and the Lions, Ervinna, Tracy Huang (黃露儀/黃鶯鶯) of Singapore.
- Tanya Tucker released a cover in 1979.
- Audrey Landers released a cover in 1984.
- CBS released a remix by Peter Slaghuis in 1989 ("Remix 89", CBS 6550717)
- Ted Hawkins released a cover in 1995.
- Global Deejays released a cover called The Sound of San Francisco in 2004.
- San Quinn sampled the song for his song San Francisco Anthem.
- PH Electro sampled the chorus in 2009
- Best-selling singles worldwide
- List of number-one hits of 1967 (Germany)
- List of number-one singles of 1967 (Ireland)
- List of number-one singles in 1967 (New Zealand)
- List of number-one hits in Norway
- List of number-one singles from the 1960s (UK)
- List of songs about California
- 1967 in music
- Guinness Book of British Hit Singles – 19th Edition – ISBN 1-904994-10-5
- The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits – ISBN 0-85112-250-7
- The Book of Golden Discs – 2nd Edition – ISBN 0-214-20512-6
- Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 42 – The Acid Test: Psychedelics and a sub-culture emerge in San Francisco. [Part 2]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu.
- Davis, Clive (February 19, 2013). "8: Monterey Pop". The Soundtrack of My Life. Simon & Schuster. pp. 62–64. ISBN 9781476714790.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 415.
- Carson, Jim (August 5, 2011). "Did You You: "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" By Scott McKenzie". CBS Radio. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- John Phillips interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969).
- Discogs: Scott McKenzie – San Francisco (Remix '89)