6 Songs Written by Charles Manson That Super Famous Bands Covered

Charles Manson, the infamous cult leader connected with multiple brutal murders, is also a musician. His first album, Lie: The Love Terror Cult, was recorded in 1968 and released in 1970. Just in time to help him pay for his legal defense. Not only has he gone on to produce more music, but several mainstream bands have also covered Charles Manson’s songs. The Beach Boys, Guns N’ Roses, and Marilyn Manson have all re-recorded tracks that appeared on Charles Manson’s 1970 album. 

That’s not to say that Charles Manson is swimming in riches from royalties – in fact, he’s broke. The son of one of Manson’s victims, Bartek Frykowski, sued him and was awarded $500,000 (with interest) back in 1971. The judgment expires every ten years and Frykowski’s lawyer has been renewing it on his client’s behalf. By the time Guns N’ Roses released their cover in 1993, with accrued interest, Frykowski was already eligible for up to $1.4 million in royalties from anything Manson earns.

Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

  • The Beach Boys, Never Learn Not To Love

    The Beach Boys, Never Learn Not To Love
    Video: YouTube

    Prior to the murders, Charles Manson and Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson became pals in 1968. Wilson introduced Manson around and even helped him secure recording sessions for his album, Lie: The Love Terror Cult. The Beach Boys ended up doing a cover of Manson’s song “Cease to Exist,” but on their album, it was called “Never Learn Not to Love.” It was released in 1969, a year before Manson’s album came out, and he didn’t get writing credit for the track on the Beach Boys LP.

  • Guns N' Roses, Look At Your Game Girl

    Guns N' Roses, Look At Your Game Girl
    Video: YouTube

    The Spaghetti Incident was the fifth studio album by Guns N' Roses and contains a cover of Charles Manson’s “Look at Your Game Girl” as a hidden track. It was released in 1993 and, as with the royalties Manson earned from the Lemonheads's cover, his earnings on the Guns N’ Roses cover also went straight to Bartek Frykowski – $62,000 dollars for every million copies of the record sold, to be exact.

  • Marilyn Manson, Sick City

    Marilyn Manson, Sick City
    Video: YouTube

    Written and originally performed by Charles Manson back in 1970, “Sick City” was re-recorded by shock rocker Marilyn Manson and released as a Valentine's Day gift to his fans via podcast from his website back in 2000. It’s widely known Marilyn Manson pulled his stage name together from Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson, whom he considered the two biggest icons of the 1960s. Charles Manson has even written to the performer from prison. His nonsensical scribbling on a postcard can be found on Loudwire

  • The Lemonheads, Your Home Is Where You're Happy

    The Lemonheads, Your Home Is Where You're Happy
    Video: YouTube

    The Lemonheads covered "Your Home Is Where You're Happy" back in 1988. The band kept the lyrics and title intact and performed it on acoustic guitar for their second album, Creator. Manson was given full writing credits in addition to royalties. Since he still owed money on the lawsuit, all of the profits ended up going directly to murder victim Woytek Frykowski's son, Bartek. 

  • The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Arkansas

    The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Arkansas
    Video: YouTube

    Another song that was written by Charles Manson for his album Lie: The Love & Terror Cult, called “Arkansas,” was covered in 1999 by American psychedelic rock band The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The song was slightly altered and appeared on their album Bringing It All Back Home.

  • Crispin Glover, Never Say Never To Always

    Crispin Glover, Never Say Never To Always
    Video: YouTube

    Strangely enough, after mainstream success as an actor on Happy Days and then as George McFly in Back to the Future, Crispin Glover decided to experiment with the music industry in 1989. His debut album The Big Problem Does Not Equal the Solution, The Solution Equals Let It Be included a track written by Charles Manson titled “I’ll Never Say Never To Always.”

    Glover’s version is actually creepier than Manson’s - he layered multiple tracks over it, including wailing sounds and children crying.