Charles Manson, a former up and coming musician whose career derailed due to (his own) clashing personalities, drugs and multiple murders, died of natural causes on November 19th, 2017 at the age of 83.
Manson, a singer and guitarist known for his seductive crooning and killer solos, moved to San Francisco in the summer of 1967 to pursue a career in music. The twinkly eyed 32-year-old from Ohio got to California and quickly started making waves in the Haight Ashbury music scene. Manson began writing an album centered around a fictional, impending, apocalyptic race-war. When he pitched the concept album to his bandmates, they were less than thrilled but ultimately agreed to give him the space he needed to grow as an artist. But things took a turn for the worse when, somewhere throughout the creative process, he began to believe what he was writing. He soon discovered that murdering in pursuit of igniting this upcoming racial battle was his real passion. Ex-bandmates were quoted as saying that he “lost sight of the music.”
Charles Manson would go on to leave the group. He sought out and quickly found new, like-minded band members who shared in his creative vision. He formed his own group composed of misfit, hippy-children with a murderous bend, and named them “The Family”. Manson moved them out to a rural property in Death Valley where they would have acres to write, record, and plot the destruction of an entire segment of the population.
The Manson Family’s musical influences came from groups like the Beatles, even titling their upcoming race war “Helter Skelter” after one of the band’s hit songs recorded on the White album. Manson also cited failed painter, Adolf Hitler, as having a profound effect on his work.
In 1969, Manson had lost that boyish twinkle in his eye and it had been replaced with soulless, pitch-black circles of nothingness. The prodigy with boundless talent had forgotten what inspired him to get into the music business in the first place. He was no longer making music, but using up valuable recording time to commit a slew of murders in Los Angeles, resulting in nine deaths. Most famously, Manson was responsible for the murder of film actress, Sharon Tate. Manson, like other musicians of his generation, would see a promising career in music derailed by a foray into Hollywood — A year later he and his Family would be incarcerated putting a full stop to Manson’s would-be days in the sun.