The Beatles, Guns N’ Roses, Beach Boys + More: Charles Manson’s Often-Terrifying Music Connections
Charles Manson was an aspiring rocker, long before he became known as the mastermind of one of history’s most grisly and shocking crime sprees. In fact, as the above gallery shows, he had a striking number of connections in the world of music.
Manson and four members of his so-called Family – Charles “Tex” Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie van Houten and Susan Atkins – were ultimately convicted of murder and given since-commuted sentences of death for their roles in the killing of seven people in 1969. Save for Atkins, who died in prison, they all remain behind bars – left to a never-ending merry-go-round of parole denials.
But not before Manson drew the Beatles into his strange and murderous world view. He claimed, in explosive court testimony after his arrest, that their songs had inspired him to act – ensuring that the Beatles would remain a part of his troubled narrative forever.
They weren’t the only ones. By then, Charles Manson already had notable intersections with the Beach Boys and Neil Young. He’d even released his own album. Later, acts like Ozzy Osbourne looked to Manson for sinister inspiration, while Guns N’ Roses infamously covered one of his songs.
The Beach Boys recorded a rewrite of Manson’s “Cease to Exist” by drummer Dennis Wilson that was called “Never Learn Not to Love.” It became one of the more bizarre moments in a discography filled with them, and it almost got Wilson killed. Young, meanwhile, admits that he found Manson’s off-kilter songwriting style intriguing enough that he tried to help with a recording contract. Click through to find out more of Charles Manson’s often-terrifying music connections.