The Beach Boys Drummer Dennis Wilson’s Connection With Charles Manson

Undoubtedly, most musicians dream of worldwide fame and recognition, especially in the early days of their careers. While it is known that there are consequences that accompany such increased popularity, very few think about the impact that artists’ songs can have on everyday people. Charles Manson is probably one of the most famous rock fans since he used music to fuel his ‘evil’ plans.

The Beatles’ song ‘Helter Skelter’ caused many controversies due to Manson’s interpretation. When released by the Beatles, the song significantly influenced the rock scene due to its rough sound. However, it also convinced Charles Manson that the songwriters, Paul McCartney and John Lennon, had sent him a message through the song to start a race war in the United States.

Although most people would probably avoid Charles Manson, the Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson went in the opposite direction and befriended him. Wilson liked to hang out with him even though he was a well-known criminal, cult leader, and musician, which definitely put him in a difficult position later on.

Charles Manson

Charles Manson’s name still reminds a lot of people of terror. Although rock and roll is stereotypically associated with evil, aggressiveness, and horror, Manson was a musician who took it way too far by bringing those fears into reality. To be fair, he was a decent musician before his deeds were discovered, and he had to face the consequences. More surprisingly, he was a musician that took the Beatles, probably one of the most peaceful song creators, as his inspiration.

He was in and out of correctional facilities for years before he was sentenced to a life sentence after being charged with the murder of seven people. He also terrorized people with his cult, which was focused on serving him, the Manson Family. But before all that hit the light, Manson had met the Beach Boys, who helped him develop his musical career. They all bonded over songwriting, but he had a special connection with the late Dennis Wilson as he was the one who met the criminal first.

Dennis Wilson And Charles Manson

Dennis’ involvement with Charles seems coincidental at first. He was driving in Malibu when he noticed two girls hitchhiking. Dennis saw the two girls again on a different day. This coincidence almost sounds like a step from Jeffrey Dahmer’s murders, but in this case, the problem was not the driver but the two women hitchhiking. The second time they encountered, Dennis decided to take them to his home on Sunset Boulevard. At night, he saw none other than Charles Manson waiting for him in his driveway.

The two girls turned out to be from Manson’s cult ‘Manson’s Family,’ which was later revealed to have served only Manson and made him rich, along with acts of murder committed for him. Despite the rumors and the fact that Manson was already known as a criminal, Dennis did not hesitate to warm up to him and form a friendship. He was even fascinated by the number of people serving him and nicknamed himThe Wizard.’

Dennis Introduced Charles Manson To Producers

Dennis befriended Charles and helped him network in the music industry. The Byrds’ producer Terry Melcher was one of the names he introduced the criminal to. Besides being fascinated by Manson’s cult, he was also into creating music with him. He recorded songs with Manson in his bandmate Brian Wilson’s house, but they were not released. However, some were used in different forms.

‘Cease to Exist’ was Manson’s song, and the Beach Boys re-recorded it as ‘Never Learn Not to Love’ but didn’t give credit to its original owner. This was a huge turning point for the friendship between the two as the Manson Family took revenge by destroying Dennis’ Ferrari and Mercedes as payback. From this point on, the Manson Family’s horrors and crimes unraveled, and Dennis began to disassociate with Manson and his cult.

Having witnessed a lot of Manson’s antics and his cult’s crimes, the Beach Boys drummer cut his ties as fast as he befriended him. Manson was sentenced to death in 1971, which was later turned into a life sentence. He served jail for his crimes until 2017 when he died at the age of 83. He outlived Dennis, who passed away at the age of 39 in 1983.