Nearly fifty years ago, two paths from opposite ends of history converged in what could have been a fate far greater, or far worse than the reality we know today. Charles Manson is perhaps the most well known murderer in the United States, and the Beach Boys are one of the country's greatest success stories. The two, nearly became one fifty years ago.
The Beach Boys were America's 1960's answer to the Beatles. While the Beatles personified the LSD laced philisophical British wave of intellectual song writing, the Beach Boys adhered to the sunny, fun loving, west coast lifestyle.
The Beach Boys wrote songs about cars, pretty girls, fun in the sun and surfing the U.S.A. They were viewed as good boys. Most of the media surrounding the Beach Boys which was made up of Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, along with their cousin Mike Love, and Friend Al Jardine, was highly positive. They were clean cut, well dressed and had bronzed skin.
But the reality inside the super group was far darker. There was drug use, alcoholic behavior and connections with less than trustworthy individuals. So where does Charles Manson the United State's most prolific serial killer fit into all of this?
The story goes that one evening Dennis Wilson, the band's drummer who was already involved heavily in drugs, was driving home in southern California, when he spotted two female hitchikers. Dennis originally picked up the girls with the intent of taking them back to his rented California home and seducing one of them. It just so happened that these two girls were part of Manson's group of followers "The Family."
After spending time with the girls, Wilson was introduced to Manson who was himself a musician. Wilson introduced Manson to the rest of the band, and by all accounts was originally infatuated with the philosophical views of the soon to be notorious murderer.
Manson's fascination with Wilson was strictly business. Manson was a failure by nature. He had tried unsuccessfully for years to get a music contract, and considered himself to be the next Bob Dylan. Manson had hoped to work with the Beach Boys, and gain exposure to record label executives.
After spending a great deal of time "jamming" with Manson, Wilson eventually convinced the Beach Boys to record a song which Manson had penned entitled "Never Learn not to Love." The band was not impressed with the composition, and they also didn't want to give any royalties to Wilson's "weird" new friend, so they changed literally every part of the arrangement.
The changing of the arrangement has long been rumored to be the reason for the deterioration of Wilson's friendship with Manson. Although there have been other arguments about what caused the men to go their seperate ways including Wilson's lack of interest in helping Manson achieve his musical goals, most believe that Manson had just become too strange, and erratic.
Rather than have to confront Manson and face his frightening behavior, Wilson simply left his rented home, and let the landlords for the property file eviction against the Manson "family."
The aftermath of the previous events is well known today. The Beach Boys went on to a long, successful career. They have toured for over fifty years, and continue to sell out arenas around the globe.
Charles Manson receded to the deserts of Southern California where he eventually masterminded the murders that shocked the world, and made him a household name. But nearly fifty years ago, Manson was almost a Beach Boy.