The Dark Truth Behind The Beatles Hit, ‘Sexy Sadie’

While visiting India in the late ’60s, the Fab Four had different expectations; Paul McCartney saw that retreat as the perfect opportunity to write and compose their next hits; John Lennon was there to question and see if he could find anything relatable while George Harrison was firmly committed to the spiritual side of things and Ringo Starr… Well, he was just Ringo.

However, as the feud between Harrison and McCartney heated up and Lennon realized that things weren’t as spiritual as they expected and after allegedly witnessing the guru, Maharishi, advancing on actress Mia Farrow, the trip turned into something of a complex labyrinth for each Beatle.

The band returned to England, not with the spiritual cleansing they looked for, but with pockets full of songs. Paul had been writing quite a lot, but the bassist wasn’t the only one. John also had a few tracks of his own, but one piece especially stood out; it was dedicated to Maharishi, and the song, which would become ‘Sexy Sadie,’ mocked the guru for quite a few verses.

However, the only ‘guru’ with a complex relationship with the Beatles wasn’t an Indian spiritual leader but an American one. This particular American guru especially had a fondness for the Fab Four, as he and his family enjoyed listening to all the British act’s timeless hits.

It was Charles Manson who got swept by Beatlemania, as the cult leader was fascinated by the Brits’ sound and surely envied the act quite a lot. Things had become so weird, in the end, that even the members of the Manson family started believing that some Beatles tracks were written for Charles and his followers.

Out of his many followers, three ladies stood out the most, as the media went on to name them the Manson Girls after Charles and his cult fell apart. Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, and Leslie Van Houten made up the infamous Manson Girls, and years after their notorious crimes, Van Houten would talk about the ‘odd’ connection between their cult and the Beatles.

Leslie was discussing the dynamics between her and the other members of the Manson Girls, along with mentioning how the Manson cult often drew parallels between their lives and the British act’s lyrics, firmly believing that the Fab Four sent them messages while being interviewed by her lawyer, Martin L. Part, in 1969.

She even recalled the common belief among the cult members that the Beatles track, ‘Sexy Sadie,’ was written for her friend Susan, whose nickname was Sadie at the time. Van Houten’s words were pretty creepy, as it seemed that she genuinely believed Lennon dedicated the track to Atkins while recalling how the song fitted her and how she couldn’t wait for her next kill after playing a role in Rose and Leno LaBianca’s tragic murders.

Van Houten’s words on Atkins’ belief that ‘Sexy Sadie’ was dedicated to her:

“Well, Sadie was always more or less the rougher of us girls. You know, she was always upfront. In fact, the Beatles had a song about her called ‘Sexy Sadie.’ And that song just fit her so perfect, you know.

And after that [LaBianca murders] — Well, we were all almost fascinated by the thought of killing people just because we’d been, you know, taught to stay away from it, and nobody knows about death, really, you know. And when she came back, she was almost infatuated by it. She kept sharpening the knives, getting them real sharp.”

The reason why John named the song ‘Sexy Sadie’ was because his bandmate George persuaded him not to call it ‘Maharishi,’ a name Lennon initially picked. It was only an eery and weird coincidence that an actual Sadie, who was a psychotic murderer, would start thinking the song was written for her.