The music behind the murderer
Charles Manson is most known for orchestrating the murders of Sharon Tate, her unborn child, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Parent and Abigail Folger, as well as the separate murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. On August 8, 1969, Manson ordered his cult following, or “family” as he liked to refer to them, to go to 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, California. Their original motive was not to murder the current residents of the home, but to confront the previous owner Terry Melcher, who was an acquaintance of Manson. Terry Melcher had refused to sign Manson to his record label, and subsequently moved out of the Cielo Drive home. Manson however, was unaware of this move and it proved to be a fatal mistake for Sharon and her friends that night. Those held responsible for that crime were Manson himself, and five of his followers – Susan Atkins, Charles (Tex) Watson, Patricia Krenwrinkel, and Linda Kasabian. There were also additional murders committed by the “family” after Tate and her friends were murdered. On August 10, they traveled to the LaBianca residence in Los Angeles where Manson, Watson, Krenwrinkel and Leslie Sankston entered the home. It was at this time that Manson tied up the owners, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Manson left some instructions on how to kill the LaBiancas for his co-conspirators, and left the residence. He and all members present at that murder scene were indicted and convicted of the LaBianca murders.
Bobby Beausoleil, a former Manson follower, also claimed that Manson killed Bobby’s friend, musician Gary Hinman, for not giving the Manson Family $20,000. Manson admitted to cutting off Hinman’s ear on July 31, 1969 in an interview with 60 Minutes Australia conducted in 1981, over 10 years after the incident. In the interview, Manson was asked how he felt after he cut off Hinman’s ear, and he replied by saying“I had done what he said for about 20 years….and I got to thinkin’. Now why don’t this guy do something I tell him to ?” He continued by explaining that Hinman repeatedly told him that he would not do what Manson told him to, which is most likely what caused Hinman’s death. Gary Hinman is considered to be the Manson Family’s first victim.
Charles Manson is quoted in one of his interviews as saying, “I play my music for me; I don’t play my music to entertain people.” Manson’s music is also especially unique and fits within the psychedelic folk-rock music genre. Most of the time, his music also contains a hidden message. Manson made music when he led the family, continued to play while imprisoned, and stopped in 2013, 4 years before he died from secondary illnesses resulting from colon cancer.
Charles Manson’s music first came to some fruition when he met the Beach Boys in early 1968. Manson actually had an unfriendly relationship with the co-founder of the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson. He wrote the song “Cease to Exist” for the Beach Boys, but to Manson’s displeasure, the song title was changed to “Never Learn Not to Love.” Some of the lyrics were changed, and another bridge was added. This infuriated Manson at the time, as he wasn’t given credit for the song. His payment for writing the song was cash, some undisclosed items, and a BSA motorcycle. In his original writing of the song, “Cease to Exist,” one can assume that he details the Manson family’s orgies and invites the members to love their “brother.” The lyrics say: “Submission is a gift / Go on, give it to your brother / Love and understandin’ is for one another.” Thorough assumptions can be made with these lyrics, because it’s as if he is saying submitting and giving yourself to your “brother” is a gift, and that people are meant to be together in sexual ways.
Charles Manson maintained a large musical repertoire throughout his artistic career. In total, his discography features 20 separate albums ranging in dates from 1967 to 2013. Manson’s discography includes the albums: The Family Jams, Lie: The Love and Terror Cult, Commemoration: Live at San Quentin and The Way of the Wolf, The Summer of Hate — the ‘67 Sessions, Son of Man, and so on.
The creepiest song I came across in his discography was “I’ll Never Say Never to Always.” It was written and published in 1970, and was featured on the album “Lie: The Love and Terror Cult.” It very much sounds like something that would play before you die, and is reminiscent of Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” which has now become a cult classic in every scary movie. “I’ll Never Say Never to Always” addresses death, and the idea that once you die and are with God, there will be “no cold, no fear, no hunger.” In a past interview, Manson was cited as “having invented God, and therefore God is his best friend.” This interview connects immensely with the song, even though the interview was taped about 24 years after the murders. Manson was extremely obsessed with God, as is heard in this song, and is stated by Manson’s belief that he was the reincarnation of Jesus.
Manson was very prolific, and described by many as simply being crazy. I also think he molded his persona to fit what the world thought of him. The evidence behind this statement would be his random outbursts during his TV interviews, and his strange way of talking. Perhaps it was the constant rejection from the music world that made him crazy, or his lack of discipline and regard for the present that contributed to his demise-or maybe it was a mixture of both.
Jasmine Morrow is a senior business administration major who doesn’t recommend listening to Manson’s music alone in the dark. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Art by Carolyn Langer.