Scott McKenzie (born Philip Scott Blondheim 10 January 1939, Jacksonville, Florida, died August 18, 2012 in Los Angeles) was a singer best known for his 1967 hit of San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) (written by John Phillips and later featured in the movie Forrest Gump). In 1986 McKenzie began singing with a new version of The Mamas and the Papas. In 1988 McKenzie wrote (with John Phillips, Mike Love and Terry Melcher) the Beach Boys #1 hit “Kokomo.” By 1998 he had retired from the on-the-road version of the Mamas and Papas, though he did appear at the Los Angeles tribute concert for John Phillips in 2001.
McKenzie grew up in North Carolina and Virginia, where he became friends with the son of one of his mother's friends, John Phillips. In the mid 1950s, he sang briefly with Tim Rose in a high school group called The Singing Strings, and later, with Phillips, Mike Boran and Bill Cleary, he helped form a doo wop band, The Abstracts. In New York, The Abstracts became The Smoothies and recorded two singles with Decca Records, produced by Milt Gabler.
In 1961 Phillips and McKenzie met Dick Weissman and formed The Journeymen, which recorded three albums for Capitol Records. After the Journeymen disbanded in 1964, the members discussed forming a group called The Mamas & the Papas. McKenzie wanted to perform on his own, so Phillips formed the group with Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot and Michelle Phillips, his second wife. The group soon moved to California. Two years later, McKenzie followed from New York and signed with Lou Adler's Ode Records. Phillips wrote and produced "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)" for McKenzie, which was released in 1967. Phillips played guitar on the recording and Michelle Phillips played bells. It became a top-five smash in the United States and a number one hit in many other countries in the world.
"San Francisco" became a hippie anthem in the United States and was popular around the world. It was played during the Summer of Love in San Francisco. McKenzie followed it with "Like An Old Time Movie", also written and produced by Phillips, which was a minor hit. His first album, The Voice of Scott McKenzie was followed with an album called Stained Glass Morning. He stopped recording about that time in the early-1970s and lived in Joshua Tree, California and Virginia Beach.
In 1986, McKenzie started singing with a new version of The Mamas and the Papas. In 1988 he co-wrote the Beach Boys hit "Kokomo" with Phillips, Mike Love and Terry Melcher; the song featured in the hit Tom Cruise movie Cocktail. In 1998 he retired from the road version of The Mamas and Papas.
McKenzie died on August 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA.