Saying Goodbye to Scott McKenzie

I learned earlier that Scott McKenzie passed away this weekend. A statement on McKenzie’s website says the 73-year-old died on Saturday in Los Angeles. McKenzie battled Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease that affects the nervous system.

He sang the song that defined my generation and the Summer of Love  in San Francisco, “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” which became a huge hit in 1967.

The song was written by John Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas.  It was written and released in June 1967 to promote the Monterey Pop Festival. Scott McKenzie was good friends with John Phillips and was asked to join The Mamas and The Papas but he declined John’s offer.

I love his voice and the eternal feeling contained within this song. It always moves me every time I hear it. Truly sad today that he is gone. Truly happy for where his soul journeys.

Where The Action is

Dick Clark’s impact on our musical tastes is powerful and long-lasting. In the summer of 1965, Dick Clark Productions produced a weekday afternoon television show that was broadcast on WABC-TV in the New York City metro market.  The program proved to be a precursor to MTV because it was a form of music television that featured video hit after video hit.

The show aired from 1965 through 1967.  Most of the telecasts, all of which were produced in black-and-white, were taped at various locales in Southern California. The Summer of Love in 1967 would shift Top 40 to album rock, as listener tastes matured and became more defined.

I was glued to the television set watching the artists perform in all those great sunny beach locations and amusement parks. The show developed a cast of music regulars featuring one of my mid-sixties favorites Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Here’s one of the hits they made famous on the show, Just Like Me from Spotify…

Paul Revere & The Raiders – Just Like Me

Paul Revere and the Raiders

Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.- Simon & Garfunkel

Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
Image via Wikipedia

I learned about the poetry of Simon & Garfunkel when I attended high school. I had a very hip English teacher who played folk music for us in her class. We were taught to decipher and appreciate the poetic lyrics of Paul Simon in direct relationship to the exquisite voice of Art Garfunkel.

My English teacher was very enamored with the debut album by Simon & Garfunkel. I associate this recording with junior year when my music consciousness was raised above AM radio. I was about to enter the expanding universe of FM radio, where full album recordings enlightened the listener. This all took place in the fall of 1967, after the dust settled from the Summer of Love.

Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. is both the album title and the last song on the album.

Rock Music Photographers A-Z, Robert Altman

Robert Altman begins my series about rock music photographers from A-Z. The criteria used to decide what photographers will be featured in this series was based upon several factors.

1) Counter culture influence

2) Keen eye for unique and historical perspectives

3) Photographs images that instill inspiration and/or raise consciousness

4) Creates indelible photographs that become etched upon our hearts, minds and souls

I’m proud to start with Robert Altman’s work. As a long time reader of Rolling Stone Magazine, Robert’s images have created beautiful sensations for me as a rock music fan.

Quoting Ben Fong-Torres (courtesy of The Morrison Hotel Gallery).

“What is it about photographers that makes them almost invariably shy? Robert Altman is so self-effacing about his work, that he’s called on me to draw him out I’m happy to do so. I worked with Robert at Rolling Stone in 1970. Robert was a member of one of the publication’s first groups of brilliant photographers, coming in between Baron Wolman and Annie Leibovitz-two other shy types. (Maybe that’s why they’re behind the camera.)”

Robert Altman is a friend on Facebook. I like what he posts and when our thoughts share common points of view.

I love his book, The Sixties. I don’t own a copy yet but its on my amazon wish list 😉 When my wife and I were in Seattle in 2009 we saw the Summer of Love display in the Seattle Macy’s window one morning and it was warmly captivating.

These are three of my favorite photographs by Robert Altman.

© Robert Altman, 1969
© Robert Altman, 1970
© Robert Altman, 1969
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