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Charles Manson

folk singer-songwriter psychedelic experimental misunderstood geniuses

Charles Milles Manson (born November 12th 1934, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.) is an inmate serving life in the California penal system since his conviction in 1970 for involvement in multiple murders. Before the murders, he was on the distant fringe of the Los Angeles music industry, known as an . He also had a chance association with Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. After his arrest, recordings of songs written and performed by him were released commercially, attributed to The Manson Family. The Beach Boys themselves had already recorded one of Manson's songs, "Cease to Exist", as "Never Learn Not To Love", although without credit to Manson at first (later releases have varied). More recently, artists including Guns N' Roses and Marilyn Manson have covered songs by Manson.

Manson had met Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson and his associate Terry Melcher, the son of actress Doris Day. Gram Parson’s manager Phil Kaufman recorded Manson’s songs on a reel to reel tape, and the Beach Boys somehow ended up rearranging a Manson composition (recorded on September 11, 1967) in 1968. The song chosen was Manson’s song “Cease to Exist”, which the Beach Boys re-titled “Never Learn Not to Love”. Much to Manson’s chagrin, his name was left off the credits when it appeared as a b-side.

According to Van Dyke Parks, Manson came around and threatened Dennis Wilson and Melcher, but Wilson attacked Manson and threatened him back. Legend has it that, seeking revenge, Manson looked up Melcher’s address, but Melcher had moved, and pregnant movie actress Sharon Tate was living at the location by the time Manson’s cohorts arrived for mayhem in the summer of 1969. Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi convinced a jury that Manson planned and ordered his “family” to commit Tate’s and several other brutal murders, in what came to be known as the “Tate-La Bianca” murders, named after the victims.

Manson was convicted for being the mastermind, and he was not accused of committing the murders in person, although he had devised the ideology of an apocalyptic scenario called 'helter skelter'. He is currently serving a lifetime sentence in California’s Corcoran State Prison. On May 23, 2007, Manson was denied parole for the eleventh time. He will not be eligible again for parole until 2012. Due to his eccentric and arguably dangerous behavior as well as his notoriety, it is highly unlikely he will ever be released. Manson has never admitted guilt and maintains his innocence,still keeping up recordings while in prison.

Since his trial and conviction, Manson’s name and image have been integrated into American pop culture generally as a popular media symbol of ultimate evil. His public image has inspired artists such as Marylin Manson. His songs have been covered by many artists, perhaps most infamously by Guns N’ Roses. That group performed the song “Look at your Game Girl” for their album The Spaghetti Incident?.

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