Charles Manson, a failed musician who nevertheless made several notable connections in classic rock before orchestrating one of the nation’s most horrifying crime sprees, has died according to multiple media sources including Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and TMZ. He was 83.

Serving a life sentence in connection with seven vicious murders over two nights in 1969, Manson was hurried to the hospital in early January 2017 with an undisclosed issue – but returned to prison without having surgery. He was said to have been suffering “significant intestinal bleeding,” but ultimately was deemed too weak to survive any medical procedure. He finally succumbed to lingering health issues on Sunday, Nov. 19, at a Kern County Hospital in Bakersfield, Calif.

Manson’s death brings to a close a life defined by lawlessness, and framed by a deeply misguided obsession with the Beatles.

Born Charles Milles Maddox on Nov. 12, 1934, Manson began life in a troubled home where he was reportedly sold by his mother for a pitcher of beer. Kathleen Maddox had been a teenaged prostitute; Charles’ father was one of her boyfriends. His uncle was said to have eventually tracked down the childless woman who’d taken him in order to bring back Charles. The future mass murderer ultimately took his stepfather William Manson’s last name; Manson’s mom ended up in jail.

By 12, the youngster was already in a detention home for stealing. He’d spend the next couple of decades in and out of reform school and then prison for various offenses. He met music teacher Gary Hinman after finishing a seven-year jail stint in 1967, and Hinman in turn introduced Manson to Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. By then, Manson had begun leading a cult-like existence – and writing his own off-kilter songs.

Wilson took Manson to meet producer Terry Melcher, and he was said to have recorded some music at Dennis’ brother Brian Wilson‘s home studio. Neil Young approached his label about signing Manson, and the Beach Boys released their own reworked version of Manson’s song “Cease to Exist” on 1969’s 20/20. But when Melcher refused to help the increasingly unhinged songwriter with his career, Manson apparently sent his brainwashed so-called “family” to the house where they’d originally met to kill everyone inside.

Unfortunately for actress Sharon Tate and her guests, they were now renting the same remote home at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles. The actress, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant, was killed along with five others on Aug. 9, 1969. The next night, Manson ordered his followers to murder Leno and Rosemary LaBianca – reportedly neighbors of a former friend who lived at 3301 Waverly Drive, a few miles away.

Prosecutors later said the Manson family were trying to incite a race war which he believed had been described in Paul McCartney‘s song “Helter Skelter.” In fact, Manson said he’d been emboldened by a number of lyrical themes from the Beatles catalog, as evidenced by the words smeared in blood at their grisly crime scenes.

Manson was sentenced to death for his role in the killings on Jan. 25, 1971, but not before releasing an album of his own titled Lie: The Love and Terror Cult. His sentence was later commuted to life in prison when California struck down the death penalty. Over the ensuing years, Manson was charged with more than 100 rules violations – including assault, threatening staff and repeated possession of weapons – while Guns N’ Roses covered his music and Ozzy Osbourne wrote a song inspired by his crimes.

As rumors of Manson’s failing health spread, Tate’s sister Debra Tate tried to make sense of her feelings. “I would probably say a prayer for [the victims] and shed a tear and ask God to have mercy on their souls, but so far I haven’t allowed myself to feel anything because it’s unsubstantiated,” Tate told the Associated Press. “I’m not allowing myself to feel anything until I know that it’s true.”

Prior to his final health issues, Manson most recently made headlines in 2014, when he was apparently engaged to a woman who’d been working to secure his release. However, the marriage license expired before they made it to the altar. Manson wasn’t up for parole again until 2027, when he would have been 92.

Charles Manson’s Musical Connections

Charity Shayne

Catherine Share was the rare figure in Manson’s circle who actually arrived with a musical pedigree. Long before she fell into his sway, courtesy of a 1967 introduction from convicted Family member Bobby Beausoleil, the woman later known as “Gypsy” had cut a folk-pop single in ’65 called “Ain’t It? Babe” under the name Charity Shayne for the Autumn label, which was home to Sly Stone, the Beau Brummels and others

The Beach Boys

In the spring of 1968, Charles Manson befriended Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson – who, in turn, paid for studio time, introduced him to some industry pals like Terry Melcher and allowed Manson to live in his house. Carl and Brian Wilson reportedly co-produced around 10 still-unreleased Manson songs recorded at Brian’s home studio. Manson’s relationship with Dennis eventually soured after a few months, however, as Manson’s quickly growing “family” threatened to take over the drummer’s home. “It was a set up,” bandmate Al Jardine later said. “Manson would always have the girls out on the highway, hitch hiking — and Dennis always liked a pretty girl. He picks up the girls, takes them home … and Charlie comes back with a bus, and moves in.”

Neil Young

Neil Young also crossed paths with Manson, and even went so far as to try and get him a record deal. “His songs were off-the-cuff things he made up as he went along, and they were never the same twice in a row,” Young later wrote in his autobiography. “Kind of like [Bob] Dylan, but different because it was hard to glimpse a true message in them, but the songs were fascinating. He was quite good. 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.”

Dennis Wilson

Credited to Dennis Wilson, “Never Learn Not to Love” took a convoluted journey before appearing as the B-side to the Beach Boys’ December 1968 single “Bluebirds Over the Mountain.” Charles Manson reportedly offered Wilson a song titled “Cease to Exist,” adding that Wilson was free to alter it as he wished as long as the original Manson-penned lyrics remained. Instead, the song appeared with both a new name and new words (and with no credit for Manson) on the Beach Boys’ 20/20 album, released in February 1969 – leading Manson to threaten Wilson’s life. He went to the drummer’s house with a loaded gun, only to discover that Wilson wasn’t there. Instead, he gave the housekeeper a bullet and a message. By that summer, Manson was making good on such threats.

Bobby Beausoleil

Later imprisoned for beginning the Family’s infamous crime spree by torturing music teacher Gary Hinman to death in 1969, Bobby Beausoleil was once roommates with underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger – an association that led to his jailhouse soundtrack for Anger’s well-regarded psychedelic film ‘Lucifer Rising.’ Beausoleil was also part of an early lineup of the band Love.

Terry Melcher

Manson had met with early Byrds producer Terry Melcher the year before, trying to get some of his music published. Melcher turned Manson down — but not before inviting Manson over to his home at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles. That house was subsequently leased to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate, becoming the site of a grisly Manson Family rampage on Aug. 9, 1969. Five people were murdered inside the home, including Tate. Family member Susan Atkins wrote “pig” – something Manson later connected to the Beatles’ White Album song “Piggies” – in blood on the front door as they left.

The Beatles

On a second night of unspeakable violence, Manson Family members killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home. This time, police found the words “Rise” (an apparent reference to the Beatles’ “Revolution No. 9”) and “Death to Pigs” (another reference to “Piggies”) written on the living room walls, along with “Helter Skelter” misspelled in blood on the refrigerator. Manson hoped that these murders would be blamed on African-American activists, sparking an apocalyptic race war which would in turn allow Manson to rise to power. Stranger still, Manson testified that his ideas were informed by secret messages in the White Album, released in November 1968.

Ringo Starr

At the time, Manson’s strange connection with the Beatles wasn’t immediately known. Still, the violence hit home for Ringo Starr. “It was upsetting,” Starr later said. “I mean, I knew Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate – and, God, it was a rough time. It stopped everyone in their tracks, because suddenly all this violence came out in the midst of all this love and peace and psychedelia. It was pretty miserable, actually, and everyone got really insecure. Not just us – not just the rockers, but everyone in L.A. felt, ‘Oh God, it can happen to anybody.’” Later, a member of the Manson Family claimed they kept a celebrity “death list” that included Steve McQueen and Elizabeth Taylor, among others.

‘Lie: The Love and Terror Cult’

Manson finally got his music released – but only after he’d been taken into custody in connection with the Tate-LaBianca murders. Lie: The Love and Terror Cult was issued by his friend Phil Kaufman’s boutique label Awareness on March 6, 1970, just months after Manson was featured on the cover of Life magazine. He used the same photo and typeface for his album, but switched out the word “lie” for “life.” Among the 13 included tracks were the original version of “Cease to Exist,” presented without Dennis Wilson’s changes, along with “Sick City,” “People Say I’m No Good,” “Ego” and – most curiously – “Don’t Do Anything Illegal.” Various other tape recordings made inside prison have surfaced over the ensuing decades.

Black Sabbath

Ozzy Osbourne has credited Charles Manson with smoothing the way for Black Sabbath’s turn-of-the-’70s brand of creepy doom rock – and later wondered aloud whether they would have struck up a friendship. “The Manson murders were all over the telly, so anything with a dark edge was in big demand,” Osbourne said in his autobiography. “Before he turned psycho, Manson had been a big part of the L.A. music scene. If he hadn’t gone to jail, we probably would have ended up hanging out with him.”

‘The White Album’

Only during his 1971 trial did Manson’s peculiar obsession with the Beatles become clear. His horrifying testimony included a series of violent misinterpretations of White Album songs like “Helter Skelter,” which Paul McCartney had written as a raw-boned rock tribute to a popular U.K. fairground ride. For Manson, however, lyrics like “it’s coming down fast” meant something else entirely. “‘Helter Skelter’ is confusion,” he testified. “Confusion is coming down fast. If you can’t see the confusion coming down around you fast – you can call it what you wish. It is not my conspiracy. It is not my music. I hear what it relates. It says ‘Rise.’ It says ‘Kill.’ Why blame it on me? I didn’t write the music.”

‘On the Beach’

After Manson orchestrated this string of 1969 murders, Neil Young made a musical exercise out of getting inside his head. The result was his chilling song “Revolution Blues,” which appeared on 1974’s On the Beach and featured his former Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young bandmate David Crosby. Told from the perspective of a homicidal lunatic, the song includes the lyrics: “I see bloody fountains and 10 million dune buggies comin’ down the mountains. Well, I hear that Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars, but I hate them worse than lepers.”

Rob Zombie

Manson’s work didn’t immediately connect with a public still stricken with horror over the Tate-LaBianca murders. In fact, Lie: The Love and Terror Cult reportedly sold only 300 copies when it was issued on Awareness. Kaufman then signed a deal with ESP-Disk, hoping for wider distribution. Eventually, it fell into forgotten collector’s item status, until interest was reignited years later within the punk and metal scenes. GG Allin released a new version of “Garbage Dump” in 1987; “Cease to Exist” was covered by Rob Zombie and the Lemonheads – the latter of whom also included “Home Is Where You’re Happy” on 1988’s Creator. Evan Dando memorably referenced “Big Iron Door” on 1990’s Lovey.

Psychic TV

Redd Kross also covered “Cease to Exist” on their 1982 debut, and Black Flag referenced Manson. Subsequent British bands linked to him included Cabaret Voltaire and Psychic TV – the latter of which was founded in 1981 by one half of the then-newly defunct Throbbing Gristle. Psychic TV memorably recorded “Roman P,” a track named after Sharon Tate’s husband that featured actual recordings of Manson’s rantings. Weirdly, “Roman P” was later featured in a ’90s-era Volkswagen commercial.

‘No Rest For the Wicked’

Ozzy Osbourne later recorded the Charles Manson-inspired song “Bloodbath in Paradise” on his 1988 album No Rest for the Wicked, specifically mentioning “helter skelter.” The opening verse begins, “You’re coming home / There’s blood on the walls / When Charlie and the family make house calls / If you’re alone / Then watch what you do / Because Charlie and the family might get you.”

Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor actually moved into Sharon Tate’s former residence on Cielo Drive in 1992, apparently looking for disturbing inspiration for the upcoming Nine Inch Nails album The Downward Spiral. He built a studio inside the home, and ghoulishly nicknamed it “Pig” in honor of the Manson Family’s ghastly message. Reznor said he meant it to be morbidly fun, but was shaken into a realization about the larger emotions at play when he ran into Tate’s still-grieving sibling. “When she was talking to me, I realized for the first time, ‘What if it was my sister?’” Reznor said later. “I thought, ‘F— Charlie Manson.'”

‘The Spaghetti Incident?’

Axl Rose apparently had no such qualms, releasing a version of Charles Manson’s “Look at Your Game, Girl” on the 1993 Guns N’ Roses covers album The Spaghetti Incident?. (He even whispers “Thanks, Chas” at the end.) Originally found on Manson’s Lie: The Love and Terror Cult, this new version was actually tucked away as a hidden track but it garnered Guns N’ Roses their share of negative reaction anyway – including from their own record-label head. Quite frankly, even the band seemed cool to the idea: Only Dizzy Reed joined Rose on the track.

Marilyn Manson

The former Brian Warner, who famously came up with his pseudonym by combining Charles Manson’s last name with actress Marilyn Monroe’s first name, covered Manson’s “Sick City” in 2000. (An early protege of Trent Reznor, he labeled the Charles Manson update “an impromptu Valentine’s Day gift to fans.”) All of that probably led to one of the weirder moments in rock, when Charles Manson wrote a completely unhinged letter to Marilyn Manson from his jail cell. “Ghost dancers slay together and you’re just in my grave Sunstroker Corona-coronas-coronae – you seen me from under with it all standing on me,” Charles Manson writes. “That’s 2 dump trucks – doing the same as CMF 000007.”

More Posts for Show: JB In The Morning