Many fans of the music industry know who Dennis Wilson was, and what he accomplished in his lifetime as a member of the Beach Boys. Wilson, a founding member of the iconic group, rose to fame in the early ’60s as the Beach Boys became popular, and by the end of that decade, he was one of music’s biggest names.
However, these days, Wilson is also known for his brief and quirky relationship with Charles Manson and the Manson family. For many fans, this friendship is the strangest chapter in Wilson’s tragically short life.
Charles Manson and Dennis Wilson befriended in the late ’60s
Charles Manson, of course, is now infamous for orchestrating a series of horrific murders in 1969. However, before he became infamous, he was a struggling musician trying to forge his way into the industry by signing a deal with a record company. When Manson first moved to California in 1968, he befriended Neil Young, who described Manson’s voice as “unique.”
Manson eventually crossed paths with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, Manson essentially moving into Wilson’s house and bringing his large group of “followers” with him. According to BiographyIn this book, Wilson cared for Manson and his girlfriends financially, even handling medical bills for the group after several people contracted STDs from group sex.
Manson reportedly stole a variety of items from Wilson’s home including clothing, expensive decorations and other household items, costing the music star a considerable amount of money – about $100k in total.
How did Dennis Wilson’s friendship with Charles Manson end?
Dennis Wilson and Charles Manson didn’t stay friends for very long, when Wilson landed Manson in a series of auditions with a record label and even recorded a Manson tune with the Beach Boys, taking things south. Went away. As reported by Biography, Manson had a disagreement with one of Wilson’s record producers and ended up pulling the knife at him in a brawl.
After an argument, Manson and his followers move out of Wilson’s house. For the rest of 1968 and early 1969, the two former friends still occasionally saw each other, although their friendship never reached the level of closeness it had before.
By the summer of 1969, Manson’s despair of not making it as a music star contributed to the order of his followers to kill the occupants of 10050 Cielo Drive. Notoriously, her followers murdered pregnant actor Sharon Tate along with her family friends in August 1969.
Dennis Wilson distances himself from Charles Manson after Tate-LaBianca murders
The murders of Sharon Tate and her friends made headlines around the world. The next day, Charles Manson’s followers attacked again, this time killing Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in Los Feliz.
When Dennis Wilson learned of the tragedy, and the role his former friend played in the murders, he declined to make any public comment. “As long as I’m alive, I’ll never talk about that,” said Wilson. Rolling stone About his relationship with Manson and family in 1976.
Nevertheless, it was clear that her short-lived friendship with Charles Manson had made a profound impact on Wilson. During the rest of his life, Wilson suffered from self-destructive behaviors, including alcohol and drug use. Wilson continued to work hard at his music, recording with both the Beach Boys and soloists.
Unfortunately, however, Wilson’s methods caught up with him, and the artist died in 1983, when he was only 39 years old, drowning at sea. He is remembered today for his work with the Beach Boys, as well as for his role in one of America’s darkest chapters.
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