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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by | Permalink | Comments (4) |

  • https://twitter.com/misterjayem MrJM

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

    – MrJM

  • Jimmy Gein

    Sorry MrJM, But no Guns N Roses do NOT do a better version of probably the best thing Manson ever recorded. The song is brilliant in general, though mansions voice is absolutely amazing mostly throughout. The reason this song is so appealing is because it is Charlie singing from the heart, and in improvisation. Which I;m sorry But the version you posted is shocking IMO.

  • Jimmy Gein

    Neil young was struck by MANSON and his songs, and his voice. Not just what his songs could be recorded by others, or he wouldn’t have bothered to mention him for a record deal. If that was the cazse he would have advised him that he could sell he’s songs to other artists. Which is an insult to any artist in itself.

  • inspectorShanequa

    its obvious Manson was setup , he wasn’t a murderer he was a musician , the Manson Family Jams was a musical group not a hippie cult

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