Charles Manson's brief and strange relationship with The Beach Boys

charles manson beach boys

  • Charles Manson and his “family” cult formed a strange and brief relationship with The Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson during the summer of 1968.
  • The Manson “family” moved into Wilson’s home that summer, where they all dropped acid and participated in group sex. 
  • The Beach Boys even ended up recording a version of one of Manson’s songs.
  • A year later, Manson would have his cult commit seven brutal murders. 


In the summer of 1968, a year before Charles Manson orchestrated seven brutal murders, he insinuated himself into a strange relationship with an unlikely source: The Beach Boys.

Manson, who died in prison on Sunday at the age of 83, met the band’s drummer, Dennis Wilson, after Wilson picked up and drove home two female hitchhikers who happened to be living in Manson’s cult, known as his “family.”

Dianne Lake, a member of the “family” who wasn’t involved in the murders, described in a recent memoir how Manson’s ability to “captivate” Wilson, a famous musician, went on to “validate more and more” Manson’s status as the leader of their cult.

Dennis and Charlie hit it off right away, which is not surprising, given Charlie’s skills at ingratiating himself with strangers,” Lake wrote. “Dennis, in no rush to leave, hung out for a while, smoked some pot with Charlie, and listened a bit to Charlie’s songs.”

As The Washington Post notes, days after their first meeting, Manson and the “family” moved into Wilson’s home, where they all dropped acid and participated in group sex, before gonorrhea began to spread through the collective.

According to Dianne Lake, Wilson provided for the group and even drove them all to see a doctor after the gonorrhea hit. 

The Manson-Wilson relationship came to an abrupt end as the summer of 1968 came to a close. 

When Wilson took Manson, an aspiring musician, to record at his studio, Manson had a disagreement with Wilson’s producers and ended up pulling a knife on them. 

The “family” subsequently moved out of Wilson’s house, but according to Lake, Manson and Wilson would occasionally still see each other in the year before Manson was arrested for his cult’s infamous murders. 

In September 1968, The Beach Boys even recorded a slightly altered version of Manson’s song “Cease to Exist,” which they renamed “Never Learn Not to Love.” Wilson was the sole songwriting credit on the track.

“As long as I live, I’ll never talk about that,” Wilson told Rolling Stone in 1976 of his relationship with the Manson family. 

Wilson died in 1983 at the age of 39, after drowning in the waters off of Marina del Rey, California.

SEE ALSO: How cult leader Charles Manson became one of the most notorious criminals of all time, sentenced to 9 life terms for orchestrating 7 gruesome murders in 2 nights

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