Book ending the 1960’s is the now infamous cult murders of LaBianca-Tate by the Manson “Family” cult. I am sure most readers of this site are well aware of the Charles Manson story, but for those in need of a refresher- I will discuss the basics of the “official” story below, in brief- However this article’s main purpose is to bring a few oddities to light as they pertain to the Beatles Mysteries.
Charles Manson, a short stature of a man of about 5’7 spent most of his life behind bars for various offenses most notably serving a life sentence for the murders of NINE individuals in the Laurel Canyon area in August of 1969 (better known as the LaBianca-Tate murders). He was the leader of the Manson Family- a group of disgruntled “hippies” living at Spahn Ranch (and various other places) a run down old movie set in which some western movies were filmed in the 1940’s and 50’s.
As the story goes- Due to Manson’s charisma and his seemingly unending supply of drugs, Manson was able to control the minds of many “family” members (mostly women). They admittedly view(ed) him as a Christ figure, a new messiah for the new age. On the evenings of August 8th and 9th, 1969 Manson instructed some of his most dedicated and worthy followers to brutally attack the residents of 10050 Ceilio Drive, and the LaBianca residences respectively.
Now, I don’t know how much you have read about the “crime of the century” that took place on these two evenings in 1969, but from what I have read, there seems to be many holes and unanswered questions revolving around the “official” story. Was the “Helter Skelter” theory as presented really the motive behind the Murderous spree? Were the victims really chosen at random, as was presented in court? Many alternative theories have popped up over the years since; from Manson being involved in Intelligence operations, to being linked with The Process Church of the Final Judgement (both of which have very strong evidence backing them up). One such theory (although perhaps irrelevant to the overall outcome) is that the Beatles knew Manson.
Manson met many of the 60’s pop and rock stars, he hung out in the same circles. Manson even had his own short-lived band called “The Milky Way”. He wrote and performed his own music, and many acclaimed his work- such as Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. The family lived in Dennis Wilson’s home for quite some time before being forcibly evicted some time later. Manson recorded an album of his original music at Brian Wilson’s home studio. The Beach Boys even recorded some of Manson’s original music .”Never Learn Not To Love” -1968 was recorded by the Beach Boys, but never gave credit to Manson, to which Manson claimed he was going to kill Wilson over. Wilson also introduced Manson to Terry Melcher, who agreed to record some of Manson’s music as well. Melcher visited Spahn Ranch several times recording Manson’s live, raw sound with some of his girls as backup singers. The tapes were shelved until after Manson was in prison.
Supposedly, (as the story goes) as part of Manson’s manipulation techniques- he would play the Beatles albums (particularly the White Album) forwards and backwards for the family, and preached of what he called the “Helter Skelter” philosophy- a coming race war between blacks and whites that the Beatles had prophesied fully within their music, bringing about the Revelation. The heinous crimes committed in early August were the result of attempting to kick start “Helter Skelter”. According to most reports, the Beatles denied having any relations with Manson or his notorious and promiscuous family members. However, the Manson girls seemed to be very surprised that the Beatles did not come to their and Charlie’s aid in court. They seemed to imply that they had a relationship with one or more members of the Beatles. Surely, if any sort of link between Manson, his entourage and the Beatles you can be sure it was covered up.
It was upsetting,” he 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.’ Thank God they caught the bugger.” -Ringo Starr
Sometime around 1968, Manson (who has admitted is a Scientologist) decided to found a new order for his family women. He called it “The Order of the Rainbow” each girl would represent a color.
Red= Squeaky Fromme
Blue= Sandra Good
Gold= Nancy Pittman
Yellow = Pat Krenwinkle
Green= Leslie Van Houten
Violet= Susan Atkins
Oddly enough, there is a Masonic order for girls with a very similar title: “The International Order of the Rainbow” open to daughters of Masons aged 11-20. Here is their logo:
Which looks an awful lot like this scene from the beginning of “The Yellow Submarine” animated Beatles Film, about “Brotherly Love”. (Notice the butterfly- symbolizing change or metamorphosis).
In need of a place to live in early 1969, Charlie rented a house in Canoga Park not far from Spahn Ranch for the Family. The house was dubbed the “Yellow Submarine” because of it’s canary yellow paint. The family occupied the main and small guest house. (Our friends are all aboard… many more of them live next-door).
Manson also connected the verses of Revelation and [Revolution] 9, the Beatles and himself. Some examples: “And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.” To Manson, the four angels were the Beatles, who would help him destroy the white race. “And their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women.” Manson believed this referred to the Beatles’ long hair. “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.” Manson saw himself in the role of the fifth angel. The “bottomless pit” represented the desert hideout where the Family would wait out Helter Skelter. Source
Apparently, Manson had an obsession with the Beatles and the “coded messages” in their music. At least that is how it is presented to us. Is there any evidence that Manson and the family ever met or hung out with Beatles members? As Ringo Starr had admitted above, we know that he was friends with Polanski, and we also know both John and Paul had associations with Polanski as well. Polanski attended Yoko’s art exhibition where John is said to have met Yoko in 1966. And Polanski’s film “Rosemary’s Baby” 1966 starred Mia Farrow, whom Lennon took to the Maharishi Camp in India two years later. (Plenty more in the Rosemary Baby/Polanski connections- but will save that for another time). The Polanski/Beatles connection is solid. But what about Manson?
Chew on this for a moment. August 8th, 1969 in London, the Beatles are preparing for a photo shoot across the zebra crossing of Abbey Road, which would become the album cover of their last studio recorded full length album- Abbey Road. The album would not be released until late September 1969. Less than 24 hours later, in California the Tate murders took place by Manson’s loyal family members. When the Family was apprehended in connection with the murders, this photo was taken of the door inside Spahn Ranch:
Notice several of the Beatles lyrics written on the door. “1-2-3-4-5-6-7 all good children go to heaven” is a lyric from the Abbey Road medley. A Beatles album that had not been released at the time the murders took place. Is it a long shot to assume that the Manson family had heard parts of Abbey Road prior to its release? Or that the Beatles (just like Dennis Wilson) plagiarized some of Charlie’s lyrics? Perhaps- that’s a pretty common phrase I suppose- however, do keep in mind that the family often sprawled Beatles lyrics on walls, doors, etc. it was basically part of their M.O. and what eventually linked the LaBianca and Tate murders together.
In a Rolling Stone Magazine interview of John Lennon in 1970, john offered up this interesting bit of information. Unwittingly or not- we can’t really be sure.
“The second time we had it [LSD] was in L.A. We were on tour in one of those houses, Doris Day’s house or wherever it was we used to stay, and the three of us took it, Ringo, George and I. Maybe Neil and a couple of the Byrds — what’s his name, the one in the Stills and Nash thing, Crosby and the other guy, who used to do the lead. McGuinn. I think they came, I’m not sure, on a few trips.” Full Interview here
This is curious for a couple reasons; Doris Day is the mother of Terry Melcher who worked with Manson, and rented the Ceilio Drive home to Tate and Polanski. Also, the Byrds were produced by Terry Melcher, so this all seems to fit quite nicely. We can assume this was in August 1965- although “official” accounts place the Beatles staying at a residence owned by Zsa Zsa Gabor at 2850 Benedict Canyon in Los Angeles. Did John just slip that in to mess with us? Or was he trying to reveal something? That question seems to be asked a lot on this site doesn’t it?
1965 is too early for a Manson connection, as Manson was incarcerated until March 1967. To which he made a B-line to San Fransisco upon release. He remained in the Haight-Ashbury district for quite some time, claiming to be Christ and acquiring followers through the “summer of Love”. Early 1968 Manson and his followers moved about the western states by bus, until finally settling in and around the L.A./Hollywood/Laurel Canyon area.
“Manson established himself as a guru in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, which during 1967’s “Summer of Love”, was emerging as the signature hippie locale. Bugliosi said in his book Helter Skelter that Manson appeared to have borrowed philosophically from the Process Church, whose members believed Satan would become reconciled to Christ, and they would come together at the end of the world to judge humanity. Expounding a philosophy that included some of the Scientology he had studied in prison, he soon had the first of his groups of followers, which have been called the Manson Family, most of them female.”
Which would be the same time that George Harrison and wife Pattie Boyd were in the Haight-Ashbury area at the request of Jenny Boyd (Pattie’s sister) who was living there at the time. George and Pattie then proceeded to leave the area, and temporarily relocated in the Hollywood hills, where they rented a mansion on Blue Jay Way, where George’s song was written for the Magical Mystery Tour Album, while waiting for Derek Taylor (Beatles publicist) to arrive. (See “To The Nines” article on this blog for more Boyd Girl information).
“The song was composed in the Hollywood hills on 1 August 1967. Harrison was visiting California with his wife Pattie, plus Neil Aspinall and Alexis Mardas. They were staying at a rented house in Blue Jay Way, high in the Hollywood hills, which belonged to the manager of Peggy Lee.
The Beatles’ former publicist Derek Taylor had become delayed on his way to meet them. The jetlagged Harrison found a Hammond organ in the house and began writing the song as an outlet for his ennui.”
Harrison’s stay in the house was arranged by Brian Epstein, who called The Beatles’ attorney Robert Fitzpatrick to enquire whether a house could be leased. Fitzpatrick persuaded the owner of the house, another entertainment attorney named Ludwig Gerber, to lend Harrison his LA residence.
Ludwig Gerber was a former US Army colonel who had managed Peggy Lee for many years. He was also a film producer and lawyer. In his house there was a Hammond S-6 organ, which Harrison used for writing the song while waiting for Taylor to arrive.”
More about Derek Taylor, Beatles Press Officer and friend:
In April 1964, Derek became Brian Epstein’s personal assistant and scriptwriter and The Beatles’ Press Officer. He traveled with The Beatles on their world tour of 1964. Derek then moved to California, where — as a publicist — he represented The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart, Paul Revere and The Raiders and co-founded, the Monterey International Pop Music Festival of 1967. Source
Well- there it is. Derek Taylor, representing the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Byrds would of have to had come into contact with Terry Melcher; who worked with the Byrds, the Beach Boys and Manson. There is also a chance that some or all of the members of the aforementioned bands jammed together at some point (they definitely partied together) and there is a good chance- that Manson and his Girls were in attendance. Again- no direct proof, but the idea is curious, and totally plausible in my opinion.
As a final thought- the Abbey Road album as it pertains to Manson is an interesting thought. Could they have jammed with Manson prior to the recording of the album in 1969? Did Manson give them ideas or vice versa? I have always thought the song “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” was an interesting tune about a “serial killer”, and although I realize the album was not released until after Manson’s heinous crimes were committed, I found the following line of particular interest:
“Rose and Valerie screaming from the gallery say ‘He must go free’- the judge does not agree, and he tells them so.. oh oh oh.”
During the Manson family trials, many of the other family members not on trial held protests outside the courthouse. Protesting that Charlie “must go free”, but of course the judge did not agree, and sentenced Charles Manson to the death penalty. Parts of the Family still are in operation today, in the form of ATWA (Air, Trees, Water, Animals) advocating Manson’s philosophies, and “saving the environment by any means necessary”, and still color-coded with the “Order of the Rainbow.” Seems even in prison, Manson continues to have major influence and dominance over the minds of many. But what was the real motivation behind the murderous spree of 1969? I suppose you will have to explore a bit further than this blog is going to go for the answer at this time, but in my opinion it has little to do with an “upcoming race war” as was presented to the jury in court, and much more about Manson’s revenge, anger and passion surrounding musicians and record producers in the Laurel Canyon area, and his ties with the Process Church. For a starting point, if interested- this blog has some pretty good information. If you are familiar with the articles in TheNumberNineBlog, you should recognize some parallels/connections/synchronicities instantly.
Please, feel free to comment! All feedback and constructive criticism is welcomed. Thanks for reading.
…To Be Continued…