The Beach Boys – Charles Manson Connection

[photogallerylink id=108872 align=right] Charles Manson was denied parole for the 12th time on April 11, 2012. Manson’s short-lived chance of parole caused the story of Dennis Wilson and the “Manson family” to resurface once again.

While Dennis Wilson, who passed away in 1983, never liked to speak about his connection to Manson and Manson’s followers, legend has it the relationship began when Wilson picked up two female hitchhikers in 1968.

Wilson later spotted the women once more and this time he drove them to his house. The story goes he left for a recording session and when he returned he found Charles Manson in his driveway and about a dozen strangers inside his home. Manson had some songwriting talent and eventually Wilson introduced Manson to Terry Melcher (music producer and son of Doris Day) who rented a house to Roman Polanski and his wife, Sharon Tate.

Before the infamous murders Wilson grew uncomfortable with the “Manson family” but rather than confront the group he simply moved out of his own house where the group had been living with him. Legend has it that Manson gave Wilson’s housekeeper a single bullet intended as a threat.

Sometime after the initial meeting with Manson but well before the murders in the summer of 1969, Manson wrote a song, “Cease To Exist.” The Beach Boys adapted Manson’s song into “Never Learn Not To Love” for their 20/20 album, released in February of 1969.

It’s hard to say a nice word about the music of a man convicted of such disgusting murders, but it has been said that Manson’s musical talents were strong and that he was on the path to become a recording artist. Given that Manson went out of his way to make connections in the music industry he very well may have succeeded.

Neil Young encountered Manson and recalled “He had this kind of music that nobody else was doing. I thought he really had something crazy, something great. He was like a living poet.”

  • Jack Cook

    Manson’s version is so much better. As for Dennis and Charlie, I get the impression that he dug Charlie from the small excerpts I read about it. However, I also believe Dennis used Charlie as much as Charlie used him. Dennis used Charlie for sex an drugs, and Manson used him for an “In” on the music scene and money. The reason Wilson, Melcher, Jakobson, et at, gave up on Charlie was not because his lack of talent, but his lack of experience and understanding on how to record properly. That and the fact the Bernard Crowe incident got back to Jakobson and scared them off.

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