Sadistic cult leader and murderer Charles Manson died on Sunday at the age of 83, leaving behind a legacy of manipulation, conspiracy theorizing and ruthless killing. Yet before he was sentenced to life behind bars, Manson aspired to be a professional musician. He and his “Family” spent time with some of the most significant artists of the late 1960s, though his own debut studio album was an abysmal commercial failure. He grossly misinterpreted several Beatles songs as a motive for his murders and esteemed rock stars subsequently invoked his image and likeness to court their own controversy.
Here is a brief synopsis of Charles Manson’s ties to the music industry:
Manson traced his motive for killing back to The Beatles’ White Album
On Aug. 9, 1969, Manson ordered members of his Family to kill a house full of people including actress Sharon Tate and Folgers coffee heiress Abigail Folger. The following night, five Family members stabbed grocery store owner Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, to death inside their home. At both locations, the murderers scrawled the words “rise,” “piggies” and “helter skelter” across the walls and doors in their victims’ blood.
Manson misread several songs on The Beatles’ White Album, released in November of 1968, as foreshadowing a gruesome, apocalyptic race war. According to Paul McCartney, Manson thought “Helter Skelter” referenced the four horsemen of the Apocalypse as presented in the Book of Revelation. Manson told Rolling Stone in 1970 that “Revolution 9” and “Piggies” “predicted the violent overthrow of the white man.” Meanwhile, he cited lyrics from “Rocky Raccoon” — “Gideon checked out and he left it no doubt/ to help with good Rocky’s revival” — as evidence that “the black man is going to come back into power again.”
Manson released one unsuccessful studio album in 1970
Manson met record producer and tour manager Phil Kaufman while they both served time in the Los Angeles County Jail. Kaufman moved in with the Family in 1968 and urged Manson to record some of his songs, which culminated in his debut studio album, Lie: The Love and Terror Cult. The album cover virtually recreates the Dec. 19, 1969 cover of Life magazine, which featured Manson; only the “F” in “LIFE” and the line “The dark edge of hippie life” were removed.
Released on March 6, 1970, while Manson was held on charges for the Tate-LaBianca murders, Lie: The Love and Terror Cult failed miserably in a commercial sense. The record only sold 300 of the 2,000 copies Kaufman originally pressed with his own money after failing to secure major label support. Still, the album remains a popular cult collectible among those who are interested in the Manson murders.
read the full article here at Billboard
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