Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 30th 2007 5:00PM by Gaylord Fields
A long list could be compiled of great songwriters who have never had a hit song on the Billboard charts. But on the vastly longer list of people who have written a tune that has appeared on a hit record, among the names is that of convicted mass murderer and cult leader Charles Manson.
The tale commences with the Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson, who first encountered Manson and his dreams of rock stardom in Southern California sometime in 1968. The Beach Boys drummer was blown away by the demos written and recorded by the recently freed ex-convict -- suffice to say Wilson was equally impressed by the free-love attitudes of the female members of the Manson Family cult. The charismatic leader and his followers went as far as relocating lock, stock and barrel to Wilson's house, and the Beach Boy proceeded to shop Manson's songs to various record labels, even introducing him to hip young producer and Columbia Records A&R man Terry Melcher, son of the famous singer-actress Doris Day.
In fact, in his role as Manson's benefactor, Wilson even had the Beach Boys record a Manson tune originally titled 'Cease to Exist.' Wilson altered the song slightly and renamed it 'Never Learn Not to Love,' taking the sole songwriting credit for his trouble. The song found release as a B-side of the single 'Bluebirds Over the Mountain' at the end of the year as well as on the 1969 LP '20/20,' both of which made the lower reaches of their respective Top 100 charts.
Eventually the family wore out its welcome, as Wilson, growing increasingly fearful of Manson, finally evicted the cult members from his home. Just months later, over two days in August 1969, the Family, directed by Manson, committed the brutal murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others. And to further haunt Dennis Wilson for the remainder of his life (he drowned in 1983), a leading theory posits that the murders were a retaliatory message from Manson to the music industry, as the house that Tate lived in was previously occupied by Terry Melcher, who had rejected Manson's bid for a record contract.