When you think of Charles Manson many things come to mind: criminal, psycho, murderer, but rarely ever musician.
Record producer Gregg Jakobson, who knew Manson, told FOX News that the killer was driven by his desire to be in the music business. "He could sit down with a guitar in front of people, he wasn’t, shy or bashful at all, and he could sing. He could charm your socks off," said Jakobson. "He could sing about the flies buzzing around his head or the shirt he had on, you know.
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When Manson failed at music he turned to interpreting lyrics with deadly consequences.
“Charlie really thought the Beatles were prophesying to him personally,” said Jakobson. “He would listen to every word and then interpret or put his spin on it.”
In August, 1969 actress Sharon Tate and four others were brutally murdered by the Manson family at Tate’s home in Benedict Canyon — grisly murders that shocked the world.
The next night, supermarket owner Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary were slaughtered across town in their home by Manson’s followers. “The words “Helter Skelter” were printed in blood at the LaBianca murder scene,” said Vincent Bugliosi, who successfully prosecuted Manson and his followers for the brutal murders of Tate and LaBianca, told FOX News. “You can’t get a stronger connection between the lyrics of the song and these murders.”
Featuring McCartney’s frenetic vocals and George Harrison’s blistering guitar, “Helter Skelter” was released a few months before in November of 1968 on “The Beatles,” what’s commonly known as “The White Album.” Thanks to Manson the song written by Paul McCartney became synonymous with evil.
An acid-drenched Manson told members of his “family” that the recording was a personal directive from the British quartet.
“In England, “Helter Skelter’s” a playground ride,” said Bugliosi. “But to Manson it was this war between blacks and whites, which became the motive for the murders.
For Manson, the message from “The White Album” wasn’t limited to “Helter Skelter.” “There was a song on the album called “Blackbird,” recalls Bugliosi.
“And the Beatles are telling the blackbird to fix its wings, rise up and fly. Well, Manson told his family that obviously by “blackbird,” the Beatles were talking about the black man, and they were telling the black man to rise up against the white man.”
The word “rise” was scrawled in the victim’s blood on the wall of the LaBianca residence.
Manson took the song “Piggies” as an endorsement from the band that the upper class needed “a damn good whacking.”
“The lyrics speaks of wealthy husbands and wives eating out at fancy restaurants at night clutching their forks and their knives,” says Bugliosi. “And a fork and a knife were found protruding from the body of Leno LaBianca.” At the Tate murder scene, the word “PIG” was scrawled in Sharon Tate’s blood on the house’s front door.
Manson also managed to tie the Beatles to the Bible via another song on the album, “Revolution #9.
In the Book of Revelation, chapter nine makes reference to “four angels,” who Manson deemed the Beatles.
“The Bible speaks about locusts invading the Earth during Armageddon,” says Bugliosi. “Manson said, “Come on, the locusts are the Beatles. In fact, the original spelling of the Beatles was Beetles, and John Lennon changed it to the Beatles.”
According to Manson, other biblical passages were referring to the long-haired Englishmen.
“Their faces were as the faces of men,” says chapter nine “and they had hair like the hair of women,” with “breastplates of iron.” Manson decided the breastplates were the Beatles electric guitars.
Manson had developed a fascination with the Beatles after they arrived in America in 1964. When the Beatles debuted on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, Manson was in jail for forging a stolen check at the United State Penitentiary at McNeill Island in Washington.
Released from prison in 1967, Manson may have been enthralled with some of the Beatles then current output like “All You Need is Love” or “Magical Mystery Tour,” but it hardly seemed like the soundtrack to Armageddon.
All that changed when he got his hands on “The White Album.”
Years later U2’s lead singer Bono once said before performing “Helter Skelter.” "This is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles. We're stealing it back."