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Should Charles Manson Music be heard?

Updated on September 20, 2012

A vinyl recording of 77 year old Charles Manson,mass murderer singing released for public consumption

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Who was Charles Manson?

Charles Milles Manson was born November 12, 1934 and is an American criminal and musician who led what became known as the Manson Family. The Manson family was a commune type group of young members that arose in California in the late 1960s and Manson was the head of it. Though Manson did not commit the murders himself he was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the murders of Sharon Tate, her unborn baby and 4 house guests and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca because carried out by members of the group at his direction. He was convicted of the murders through the joint-responsibility rule, which makes each member of a conspiracy guilty of crimes that his fellow conspirators committed.

Manson believed in what he called "Helter Skelter," a term he took from the song by The Beatles. Manson believed Helter Skelter was an apocalyptic race war, which he described in his version of the lyrics to the Beatles' song. He believed the murders would help precipitate that war. From the beginning of his notoriety, a pop culture rose around him in which he ultimately became an emblem of insanity, violence and the macabre. Helter Skelter was later used by Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi as the title of a book he wrote about the Manson murders.

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The Release of the Album

A 26 year old independent record store co-owner Manuel Vasquez who is also a pen pal of Manson has released a record of largely unheard Charles Manson songs, after running a successful online fundraising campaign to sponsor the effort. Contributors who donated had the opportunity to have their name associated with the record. Vasquez, who was not alive when the "Manson family" terrorized Southern California in the late 1960s with its "Helter Skelter" killing spree, said he wanted to produce the album because he believes Manson’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial was violated. Vasquez was quoted as saying "This project is not about death, drugs,1969, etc... It is about MUSIC." Vasquez said he has received some hate mail since the release. His parents tried to talk him out of being involved with the record at all.

The music is said to have a strong county feel to it and is minutes 45 long with all original music that the public has never heard before. It is said to be flying off the shelves at $18 each. Some of the music dates back to 1980. On the record you will hear him singing and playing guitar and also reciting some poetry and spoken word type stuff. He sounds like an old blues or a raw country singer. Manson will not receive any money from the sale of the album.

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Where is Manson now?

Manson is now 77 and is serving a life sentence for conspiracy in connection to the murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Sharon Tate was pregnant at the time of her murder. Charles Manson of the infamous Manson Family reportedly gave his personal blessing to Vasquez's effort but will not receive any proceeds from the sales. The proceedes of the record will go to.

This is not the first time that Mansion has had his music recorded. Guns ‘N Roses recorded one of his songs and only Axel Rose and one other band member performed during the song. The other two refused to participate. Guns ‘N Roses were highly criticized for recording Manson’s song. Songs by Mansion were also recorded by the Beach Boys and Marilyn Manson.

There is a youtube video encouraging fans to support the project that plays one of Charles Manson’s songs. The lyrics include the lines:

If this prison yard could talk

What a story could be told

Of the things I'd seen that would make

A strong man's blood run cold

A California prison panel earlier this year denied parole to Manson for the 12th and possibly final bid for freedom. His next parole hearing will be in 15 years when he would be 92.

Should Manson’s music be heard?

Do you think that Charles Manson’s music should be heard? The young people of today have so many bad influences in music do they need another? Do we need people who are impressionable to hear music from a mass murderer? By releasing the album do you feel we are idolizing of glorifying Charles Manson?

I personally feel that Charles Manson is in prison for conspiracy to murder and has given up all of his rights to be heard, even in music. By releasing this album it seems as if he is being rewarded in some way. How do you feel? Please jot me a note below…

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    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Yes I think it should be heard, I'm not a fan of Manson but as long as he doesn't profit financially I believe he has a right to be heard, gacy was far worse and his art was sold to collectors from the prison. Besides he is part of history after all. He's doing his time and living with his insanity that's punishment enough As a side note your article is very well written but I think you may have forgotten to mention where he's being held and where the proceeds will go to. Voted up and interesting

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      DS Duby, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment and rating. I did try to research where the proceeds go for the album but I cannot find the answer. Anything I have found only say's it does not go to Manson. As far as where he is being held he's in Cochran State Prison in California.

      However I do have to disagree that Manson should have the right to have his music heard. He is incarcerated for life for conspiracy to commit murder. The point of incarceration is to take away your rights. If you were a family member of one of the victims would you feel the same way?

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      I don't know how I'd feel to be honest it was nearly 50 years ago. But as I said John Wayne Gacy sold paintings from death row and others sold their stories to writers and publishers. I don't see why he should be treated worse when he wasn't even the killer and these others were seriel killers. He will never benifits from the music and chances are almost all of his victims family that was around at the time are already deceased. He is far less of a criminal than most murderers he washer of a burnt out LSD freak rather than out right insane. He is only still in prison because they killed someone famous otherwise he would have been released 15 years ago. It's sad but true

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
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      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Yes John Wayne Gacy's paintings were sold after he was put to death. Some were bought so that they could be destroyed: 25 paintings were burned in June, 1994 in Naperville, Illinois, at a communal bonfire attended by approximately 300 people, including family members of nine of Gacy's victims. And like I said I can not find anywhere that says where the proceeds went to. The fact of the matter is that had it not been for Manson's death sentence that was automatically commuted to life imprisonment in 1972 decision by the Supreme Court of California we wouldn't be having this conversation because he wouldn't be alive

    • hagsvilleUSA profile image

      hagsvilleUSA 4 years ago from Dallas

      I wouldn't argue that anyone should or shouldn't necessarily listen to Manson's music, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be released. Certainly, the man and his history contradict social norms and acceptable values, but to censor art (by any definition) or freedom of expression is a difficult thing to do in this country -- and for good reason. Besides, many great - and important - works have been written from prison for centuries, Cervantes, Wilde, Pound, and MLK Jr. among their authors. To include Charles Manson alongside such notable figures of history is, of course, absurd, but it stands in principle. I probably wouldn't listen to the music myself, but rather than some judicial authority tell me it's beyond my right to do so, I'd prefer to make that decision on my own.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
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      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      My opinion was not whether we should have the right to,listen to Manson's music but rather should Manson have the right to have his music heard. To me its seems like a reward to Manson to still be able to heard

    • hagsvilleUSA profile image

      hagsvilleUSA 4 years ago from Dallas

      Yeah, I see what you mean. Also, though, he was tried and sentenced according to law. Whether we agree with his punishment or not, he's serving what was given to him; and some of us may prefer that he be shunned completely and left to die without any of his humanity left intact, but to do that would be cruel on the part of collective society. His cult-like followers have already given him whatever reward he could still receive...getting into the mind of such a man through his art in order to discover more about humanity in general is a benefit for us all. (I don't mean to sound philosophical or holier-than-thou, but it's how I honestly look at the situation. BTW, any conversation about social deviants - especially serial killers and the like - fascinates me.)

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
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      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      In the fifth amendment it states "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;" If someone is given a fair trial and found guilty of a Felony, they have received due process of law and thus can be deprived of liberty and property.

      And BTW,I too am fascinated by social deviants,so thank you for a spirited conversation!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Rhonda hello nice to meet you.. what an interesting hub.. You are a brave sole. I don't want to hear Manson's music. I don't want my children or grandchildren or anyone I love or like or even cant stand hear his music. I remember all of that when it happened I was in the Carolina s it was awful.. . .. Great hub.. voted up

      and sharing

      Debbie

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I think that I actually would be curious to hear the music. I wonder, is it good music, does it sound insane? Are you afraid it will cause people to go out and commit murder? Books are written by and about people who are in prison for life. I believe the law allows it as long as they don't profit from it. Why would music be any different? I don't really see it as being about his rights. Maybe there is something to be learned from this about his deviant personality. If it is within current law, I would not object to it.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
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      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Hi Deborah,

      I honestly had a hard time deciding if I wanted to publish this hub because I didn't want my name connected to Manson's. I was very young when the Manson Family was at its height. I didn't even like to see pictures of Manson. So when I heard his music was being released it really bothered me.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 4 years ago from Orange, Texas

      I think Charles Manson is a maniac and anything remotely connected to him needs to be gotten rid of. Like you say, he lost his rights when he did what he did. I was a teenager when Sharon Tate was killed and I still remember the impact it had on people.

      Interesting hub and I'm glad you brought the subject up. Perhaps people won't buy his music if it is released.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Ann1Az2, I agree. I feel like by releasing his music he is being celebrated in someway. I also fear that the people who purchase have no idea what kind of a maniac he was and will somehow be influenced.

      Thank you for your comments.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Hey Sherri Hewins,

      I don't think because you listen to someones music that it will make you go out and commit murder. I think a person has that built inside them or they don't. I really feel that by publishing Manson's music we are in some way celebrating him. In all that I have read about him having his music released has been really important to him. The Beach Boys already have released a song that he wrote. Do we really need more? BTW there is several songs of Charles Manson on youtube.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      ....actually I bought this vinyl album re-released on cd several years ago and it holds up rather well as an audio postcard from the 60's during the movement of the singer-songwriter phase made popular by Bob Dylan and others. Yes it's true that the Beach Boys ripped off Charlie for his song - Cease to exist - and renamed it - Never learn not to love - which is a great song in either version.

      BUT that of course is to take the name CHARLES MANSON out of the equation and just judge his music and his words for artistic merit on their very own. It's really hard to be subjective in a case like this.

      Thank you for your passion here - you are an incredible writer and it takes true talent and heart to provoke your readers and make them think the way you do. I would say communication of the written word is a gift of yours - and yes there are a couple of excellent Charles Manson/Beach boys era - documentaries available at You Tube.

      I was 11 years old when the Sharon Tate murders happened and I remember hearing it on the car radio.

      sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 3:14pm

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Hi epigramman,

      I'm not certain if you are talking about the same albumn. The newest albumn has just been released this September and it is called "Just F$&#ing Around." It has some spoken poetry and Manson's singing. I have gone in and listened to quite a bit of interviews of Charles Manson on youtube. He is very intelligent. It amazes me that even in later years he can still creep me out.

      My point in writing this hub was not to say that Manson is not an talented artist but rather to pose the question that if someone is found guilty and sentenced to death (though the death penalty is no longer in California) and has lost his freedom,should he have the right to have his music heard. I do realize with just the involvement of Charles Manson's name can sway peoples view.

      Now on to your compliment. Thank you so much. I have never thought of myself as a writer. So you have paid me a very high compliment. I appreciate you encouragement.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I would be curious to hear it, to see what he finds significant, even if he is twisted.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Aviannovice,you may be able to find it on youtube. thank you for stopping in and leaving me a comment.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 4 years ago from Philippines

      I would be interested in hearing his music. The last times he was interviewed, he seemed to be so out of this world, out of his mind. Maybe in music he can say what he can't say normally. Sort of like art therapy for the mentally ill.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Hi Grand old lady, I believe you can hear his music on youtube if you google it if you really want to hear it. There is also many rantings on there as well. lol Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment.

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