John Williams — “Flowers in Your Hair”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 3, 2023


784) John Williams — “Flowers in Your Hair”

Staying with the flower children theme, here is a ’67 A-side from John Williams, no, not that John Williams — I’m talkin’ about the one who hung out with Jimmy Page! (see #402 for the B-side) “Flowers” is “a cheery hippie ditty” (Vernon Joynson, The Tapestry of Delights Revisited) that is “full of peace and love in full-on 1967 hippy mode” (happening45,, “[e]phemeral and perfect”. (Aquariumdrunkard, David Wells notes that the “lovely” song “was issued as a single . . . to coincide with his marriage”. (liner notes to Let’s Go Down and Blow Our Minds: The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1967 CD comp)

“Flowers” was actually commissioned as a British response to Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)”! Williams recalls that:

‘Flowers in your Hair’ was arranged for release to coincide with my marriage to Maureen (Maureeny Wishfull) on the 10th August 1967. I think it was actually released shortly before this. Tony Calder asked me to write a song when he returned from America earlier that year, having heard a demo of Scott McKenzie’s ‘San Francisco’ and he wanted a quick English production on the same theme to mark the “Summer of Love”, which he and Andrew Oldham thought would mark the year and lead to a long-term trend in popular culture. I went away and wrote it and brought it back to Immediate’s offices in Baker Street, and played it to Jimmy Page and Tony Calder. I can’t remember their reaction but for some reason it wasn’t taken up by Immediate (possibly because they were in financial difficulties by then) so I recorded it at the same studio in the Old Kent Road where the “John Williams” album was made. . . . I can add that Maureen and I are still together and our sons and daughter are all musicians . . . .

David Wells gives some history:

Brothers John and Berne Williams fronted R&B band The Authentics, cutting an unreleased single with Jimmy Page before the Giorgio Gomelsky-produced “Honey Love” was issued in June 1965 in the name of Brothers William. John was already writing songs for the likes of Julie Driscoll when he signed a publishing deal with Jimmy Page . . . . Page placed his material with such bands as the Mindbenders and The Quik, while Williams also recorded a couple of solo albums and a brace of 1967 singles [including today’s song].

Discogs adds more about Page:

The Authentics . . . . had a residency at the Marquee [in] London supporting The Yardbirds. Indeed, Berne Williams introduced Jimmy Page to the Yardbirds. They recorded one unreleased single with Page as producer and harmonica and guitar. John . . . recorded an album with Jimmy Page and Big Jim Sullivan under the name Maureeny Wishful.

Here is a demo:

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