We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
I am writing to correct an oversight in Eddie Dean’s article on local music scholar Mark Opsasnick and his history of D.C.’s overlooked early rock ‘n’ roll scene (“Ignoreland,” 5/16). Dean says Northern Virginia claimed comparatively few future famous rockers, except for the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Zal Yanovsky, and Jim Morrison.” What about John Phillips and Cass Elliott of the Mamas and Papas, who like Yanovsky and Morrison also attended Alexandria’s venerable George Washington High School? Papa John Phillips, the son of a retired Marine Corps officer, spent most of his youth in Alexandria and was a star athlete. And don’t forget Scott McKenzie, whose summer of ’67 hit “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” was an epic of the hippie era. McKenzie attended the exclusive St. Stephen’s School in Alexandria. That’s five key contributors to the ’60s rock revolution, and they all spent their formative years in Alexandria. That’ s pretty good for a place that has always been derided by the media as being a “sleepy Southern town” back in the 1950s.