“San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” is a song, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and sung by Scott McKenzie who sadly passed away last week. It was written and released in June 1967 to promote the Monterey Pop Festival.
McKenzie’s song became an instant hit. The lyrics 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” reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and was number one in the United Kingdom and most of Europe. The single is purported to have sold over 5 million copies worldwide. The song is credited with bringing thousands of young people to San Francisco, California during the late 1960s.
In Central Europe, young people adopted “San Francisco” as an anthem for freedom, and it was widely played during Czechoslovakia’s 1968 Prague Spring uprising against Soviet rule.
The song has been featured in several films, including Frantic, The Rock and Forrest Gump.