In a few years I want to travel again to that awesome city!
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 formed 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. They disbanded The Journeymen in 1964, as McKenzie wanted to perform on his own. So Phillips formed the group The Mamas & the Papas 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)", which was released in 1967, for McKenzie. 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. It became a Top 10 hit in the United States and a number one in the UK and several other countries. It sold over seven million copies globally, and was awarded a gold disc.
McKenzie followed the song 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 in the early 1970s and lived in Joshua Tree, California, and Virginia Beach.
In 1986, he started singing with a new version of The Mamas and the Papas. With Terry Melcher, Mike Love and John Phillips, he co-wrote the number 1 single for the Beach Boys, "Kokomo" (1988).
By 1998, he had retired from the road version of The Mamas and Papas, and currently resides in Los Angeles, California. He appeared at the Los Angeles tribute concert for John Phillips in 2001, amongst other 1960s contemporary acts.