Watch New Order Play Old Hippie Song in San Francisco
Culturally, it’s a long way from the hippie dream of 1967 to the darkened streets of Manchester 1977. But those two worlds collided in song this past weekend when New Order surprised their fans with a cover of the Scott McKenzie classic ‘San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair).’
“We haven’t got any songs of our own left over,” Bernard Sumner told the crowd from the stage of the San Francisco Civic. “But since we’re here in San Francisco, we thought we’d do a special one for you.”
The band then plunged into a very New Order-sounding riff that turned into the classic Summer of Love anthem, which hit the Top 5 in 1967. Sumner and company pull it together without one whiff of irony, while putting their own stamp on it and, frankly, making it one kick-ass song.
Written in the spring of 1967 by the Mamas & the Papas’ John Phillips, ‘San Francisco’ was McKenzie’s only hit. It also became one of the era’s most defining songs. The single was released just before the legendary Monterey Pop Festival, and has since become the unofficial anthem of that fabled summer.
Here’s the original version, if you want to compare: