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Charles Manson: Singer/Songwriter?

Updated on January 27, 2009

Truthfully I was hesitant to writer this one...

because this man, in my opinion, is a monster. Yet, some how I find this fascinating; there is a mystique behind knowing that such a monster had another side.

I think this over all this is so hard to wrap my head around. The very thought that if Charles Manson would have became famous as a singer/ songwriter, or a musician....what would have changed?

What is even harder for me to get over is that...I like some of his songs. The lyrics, the melody and even his voice singing at times feels trance-like and soothing.

I am, of course, interested in taking on such a controversial subject, just for the fact that it walks such a fine line.

I am in no way condoning, nor trying to give this monster praise.

I do not want anyone to mistake the facts, that I believe this man is evil in the purest form, and that the crimes committed are most unforgivable. Still I can't get past the idea that a monster like this could have been famous for other reasons. Maybe even possibly celebrated as an artistic influences.

How unfathomable is the very thought of that?

Charles Manson could have been a musical sensation. He could have influenced generations for a completely different reason... Hauntingly enough that could have happened.

It is a terrifying thought isn't it?

But not quite as terrifying as the destruction of humanity this man caused.

Charles Manson
Charles Manson
Dennis Wilson
Dennis Wilson

It was in 1967 Charles Manson found himself lost in the middle of the Los Angeles "counter culture" scene.

inside the L.A. coffee houses and parks. Manson found a gaining reputation as an up and coming folk musician. He wrote love songs as well as, not uncommon for the times, anti-establishment songs. Manson had good looks, charisma, and talent, he charmed groupies and developed a following. Many would later become the followers infamously known as the Manson Family.

It was around this time that Charles Manson met Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys. Wilson happened to pick up two members of the Manson's followers hitchhiking and they convinced Dennis to come and listen to Manson play. Wilson liked what he had heard, and got the Beach Boy's producer Terry Melcher to come listen to Manson's songs. Terry was not as impressed by Charles' music and woudn't offer Manson a contract.

This huge disappointment to Manson, is what has been the suspected rumor...that this event became one of the motives for the murder of Sharon Tate and her four companions a year later. You see Terry Melcher once lived at 10050 Ceilo Street...The same house, that in 1969, Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski were living...the very house that would become the sight of the grzzly Tate-La Bianca murders.

Dennis Wilson didn't given up on Charles Manson's music after Terry's rejection. For three days during the summer of 1968, Dennis and sound engineer Stephen Despair recorded fourteen demo tracks for Manson in Brian Wilson's private home recording studio. Manson arrived at the studio with six of his female groupies and plenty of dope. This recording session became the album "Lie". Which is considered to be some of Manson's best compositions recorded during those three days. The fourteen songs on "Lie" include such notable titles as, "The Eyes of the Dreamer", "Look At Your Game Girl", "Mechanical Man", "Home is Where You're Happy", and "Cease to Exist".

Soon after the recording sessions, Dennis Wilson convinced the rest of The Beach Boys to record one of Manson's songs. "Cease to Exist" which was renamed " Never Learn Not to Love" appears on the Beach Boy's "20/20" album. This proved that Charles Manson was a good of a songwriter. Even though, when both songs are played back to back, the revamped "Never Learn Not to Love" is not nearly as smooth as "Cease to Exist." Of course, the Beach Boys version is a little overly psychedelic, due to identity crisis the band was going through at the time.

"Lie" was finally released, after the murders and the trial, in 1974 with all proceeds from the sales of the album going to the families of the Manson Family's victims. For the first time, the world could hear Manson's music. "Lie" had no hits, because it was considered in bad taste to buy the album for obvious reasons.

Those who did hear Manson's music, were surpised at what they heard and Manson's music did develop a bit of interest. Included on that list are some of the popular bands that have covered some of Manson's songs. Bend like Guns N' Roses recorded "Look At Your Game Girl", The Lemonheads took on "Home is Where You're Happy", and Marilyn Manson partially used "Mechanical Man" in his song "My Monkey;" just to name a few of the recording artist that have recorded Manson's songs.

"Lie" was re-released in 2003 on CD spawning another generation of curious music lovers. Just as before, the proceeds of the album sales went to the families of Manson's victims.

"Look at your Game Girl"

The Monkees
The Monkees

Rumor Has It....

That Charles Manson auditioned for TV's "The Monkees" but the spot was given to Peter Tork.  Whether or not this is true I do not know. From what I can figure out, the auditions were probably held before he was released from prison in 1967.

I can't imagine Davy Jones singing "Look at Your Game Girl," and "Eyes of the Dreamer?"

It is suggested that the murders at house of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate was a result of Manson's rejection by Terry Melcher,the producer that Dennis Wilson introduced. Terry once lived at that house...a coincidence, or not, this is just too uncanny.

The La Bianca House, at 3301 Waverly Dr, also bears a bit of coincidence. Manson had attended parties at the house next door with Beach Boys' road manager Phil Kaufman.  Phil had a falling out with Manson over his music. Kaufman has suggested that Manson was after him and that Manson's followers were looking for him at that home.

"Cease to Exist"


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  • profile image

    CreeoyCrawlyCats 7 years ago

    Charlies Manson did not have the organizational skills to form a cult. There was no cult. He was paroled in1967 and swept into that whole Haight/Ashburry scene. After that all the musicians left and lived in LA's Laural Canyon area.

  • profile image

    db9d9 7 years ago

    Manson was taught to play the guitar back in the 1950's by The Ma barker gang, Alvin "Creepy" Carpis while sharing a cell with him. If I am correct Manson could acutally read music, as well. BTW, I'd like somebody to tell me who Charles Manson killed? He didn't mastermind anything. It was Vincent Bugliosi, Paul Watkins, and Danny Decarlo who masterminded the motive.

  • profile image

    mistyria 7 years ago

    Manson is crazy a** no matter what even with his "good" music

  • profile image

    Gage 7 years ago

    Charles may not have killed those people but he's the mastermind of the killings have you heard of some missing hickers... He deserves to be called a serial killer that's what he is i hope he burns in Hell and never stops burning until he turns to bone !!!!!!!!!

  • Carmen Borthwick profile image

    Carmen Borthwick 8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

    Very good hub, even though the subject is Manson, you keep the focus on his music. Well done. I must say I don't think different circumstances would have made any difference in the out come of his life, the insanity would have been the same, the need to control and violate.

  • profile image

    observer 8 years ago

    It is sad that Charles Manson seemed he needed to destroy in order to get his fame,,,he sadly...destroyed many families happiness as well,,,he chose...of his own free will in life.

  • Karma Freedom 97 profile image

    Karma Freedom 97 8 years ago from New York

    That would've been crazy, considering he could've brainwashed a lot more young people into doing his evil deeds.

  • St.James profile image

    St.James 8 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    I'm sorry Temitope, but I do NOT believe Charles Manson will be available for your husbands birthday.

  • profile image

    temitope 8 years ago

    I need some singer on my husband birthday

  • St.James profile image

    St.James 8 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    I personally think much of his music was pretty good. Strange how all the murder can be connected to him wanting revenge on those who said "No" to his music. The victims were mistakes...since he wanted to get the music business folk who he thought wronged him.

  • Peppermint Thrift profile image

    Peppermint Thrift 8 years ago

    I thought this was very interesting when I found out years ago. Back when you could legally get music from the internet for free we downloaded a few of his songs, one was about a garbage dump. He's actually not a bad singer, considering. Weird world.

  • St.James profile image

    St.James 8 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    Thank you all.. Charles Manson regardless did many bad (evil) things before being recognised as a musician, and had his hand in some of the most unspeakable carnage in the 20th century.

    But in my opinion.. I like the music.

  • blondepoet profile image

    blondepoet 8 years ago from australia

    Iti s funny St.James I just mentioned him as well in my latest story too.It really does make you wonder if he had gained fame as an artist would he have gone down the evil road he did.I think you did a terrific job here,this was really interesting to read about this side of him.

  • profile image

    jeannine 9 years ago

    `I beleive, that whether charlie Manson was a singer writer, and was dissed off about it. You don`t seek Revenge and Murder people. His Music should not be played. He should have been executed for his hideous Crimes to Human Kind.

  • trish1048 profile image

    trish1048 9 years ago

    As a fan of true crime stories, I have seen many criminals (not famous ones) doing amazing things in prison. There are many intelligent, skilled people in our prisons, with such skills as singing, song writing, poetry, wood working, law and a whole host of other things. Sad to think how differently their lives would have turned out if only,,

  • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

    Julie-Ann Amos 9 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

    Wow, this was a surprise I didn't know half this!

  • Cris A profile image

    Cris A 9 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    I couldn't get over fact that he is a murderer while reading this - I can't seem to look at him in a new light or force mylsef to be removed from his crime by focusing on the subject of this hub - his music.

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 9 years ago from West By God

    Oh wow, Manson might have been a totally different person had he not had a hard time with rejection. I have a spot about him in my What are Cults hub