It's that time of year the news brings us those sad lists of celebrities who died this past year. And one name probably few recognize. Scott McKenzie.
But I won't forget him.
Scott McKenzie was a folksinger/songwriter. I first heard him sing in 1967, when my family took a drive to the Haight Ashbury. We strolled among the long-haired, bearded, young people, and my nine-year-old self was enthralled by the flowing clothes, sandals, peace symbols and love beads. I had no idea I was witnessing the Summer of Love, which would alter both San Francisco and the world. As we walked, a radio played groovy guitar chords of a song that came to symbolize San Francisco's hippies and the changing times of the '60s.
Scott McKenzie's mellow voice sang the far-out lyrics; "If you are going to San Francisco...Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair..." I never forgot the song, and found myself thinking of it many times since that summer. To this day, on Haight Street, I spot kids who look exactly like the ones from 45 years ago. "A whole generation with a new explanation..."
Passing psychedelic paint jobs on Victorian houses on Ashbury Street, it seems like no time has passed since the Summer of Love. "All across the nation, such a strange vibration..." And reaching the corner of Haight and Ashbury, the tie-dyed tee shirts and bell bottoms take me right back to "You're gonna meet some gentle people there..."