Charles Manson’s Creepy and Murderous Connections to Rock Music

[This article originally appeared at Edge.ca. – AC]

Charles Manson is finally gone. Good riddance. Yet the fascination of who he was and what he did (and what he inspired others to do) remains with us.

Manson would not have become the murderous figure he was without music. Before things turned dark in the late 60s, Manson was a wannabe musician and failed songwriter.

The Beach Boys Connection

Well, mostly failed. There was that one time with the Beach Boys.

One day in the middle 60s, Dennis Wilson picked up a hitchhiking Manson along with a couple of acolytes. This led to Manson and those his cult followers living at Wilson’s house at 14440 Sunset Boulevard. Some songs were written, which later showed up on a Manson solo album called Lie: The Love and Terror Cult. This song was co-written by Wilson.

Rather tuneless, yes, but Wilson liked it enough to record it with the Beach Boys, retitling it “Never Learn Not to Love,” which got stuck on the B-side of a 1968 single called “Bluebirds Over the Mountain.”

https://youtu.be/XJrrQ2apjVg

The 13-track Lie album was independently released in March 1970 with the purpose of raising money for his defense fund.

The Terry Melcher Connection

Wilson then introduced Manson to Terry Melcher, the son of actress/singer Doris Day, a music producer who worked with Paul Revere and the Raiders as well as The Byrds on their first two albums, Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn! An audition was arranged but Melcher didn’t find much merit in Manson’s music, so he declined to work with him. Sensing some extra weirdness in Manson, but Melcher and Wilson cut ties with him.

Manson was enraged by the snub and decided to teach Melcher a lesson. Plans were made to scare Melcher at his home at 10050 Cielo Drive where he lived with actress Candice Bergen and Mark Lindsay, singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders. However, Melcher and his crew moved out of the home in the summer of 1969, leasing it to director Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate.

Although Manson apparently knew that Melcher was no longer living at the house–Day was frightened by the who Manson encounter and urged Terry to move out–Manson’s family invaded the home anyway on August 9. Killed in the spree was Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, writer Wojciech Frykowski and hairdresser Jay Sebring. Melcher was in the studio that night, working on recordings for singer Jimmy Boyd.

Read the rest of the article here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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