The Time Neil Young Met Charles Manson, Liked His Music, and Tried to Score Him a Record Deal

Waging Heavy Peace — it’s not your average rock star biography. There’s not much sex and drugs. There’s some rock ‘n’ roll. But mostly, there’s a lot of Neil Young being an ordinary guy, hanging out with family and friends, tinkering with toy trains, and refurbishing old cars. It’s a decidedly down-to-earth autobiography, so far as autobiographies go. But it’s not entirely devoid of fantastical stories. Like the time when, during the late 1960s, Young stopped by the Los Angeles home of Dennis Wilson, the drummer of The Beach Boys. There, Wilson was living with three or four girls who had an “intense vibe” and a “detached quality about them.” Young continues:

After a while, a guy showed up, picked up my guitar, and started playing a lot of songs on it. His name was Charlie. He was a friend of the girls and now of Dennis. His songs were off-the-cuff things he made up as he went along, and they were never the same twice in a row. Kind of like Dylan, but different because it was hard to glimpse a true message in them, but the songs were fascinating. He was quite good.

Young then adds:

I asked him if he had a recording contract. He told me he didn’t yet, but he wanted to make records. I told Mo Ostin at Reprise about him, and recommended that Reprise check him out…. Shortly afterward, the Sharon Tate-La Bianca murders happened, and Charlie Manson’s name was known around the world.

After the murders, Manson kind of got a record deal. His recordings were commercially released on the album Lie: The Love and Terror CultBelow we have one bizzarely upbeat song from the collection, “Home Is Where You’re Happy.”

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  1. MrJM says . . . | January 25, 2013 / 1:14 pm

    Manson’s songs are best heard as covers, e.g. http://youtu.be/XjYOJ3WkPZ4 & http://youtu.be/8P7NPi4s9cA

    – MrJM

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