Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wear a flower in your hair today

The song never rose to No. 1 on the Billboard chart (except in Britain, but what did those blokes know about music), but that didn't make it any less of an anthem for the Hippie Generation.

The Billboard Top 5 looked like this on July 1, 1967 -- just two weeks after the Monterey Pop Festival officially launched the Summer of Love:

1. Windy, Association
2. Groovin', Young Rascals
3. Little Bit O' Soul, Music Explosion
4. San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair), Scott McKenzie
5. She'd Rather Be With Me, Turtles

McKenzie's song, written by John Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas, amounted to a marketing ditty for San Francisco, an ultra-cool city that really didn't need one. If the hippies were going to turn on, tune in and drop out, what better place to hang than the inviting Bay Area.
Here's a glance at the scene back then.

The song's refrain, without saying a lot, somehow got the point across:

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

The rest of the world got the message. Thousands flocked to Frisco that summer to partake in flower power, love-ins and peaceful bliss. I would have gone there myself, but it seemed so far away. And I only had my learner's permit.

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