When you think of The Beach Boys, you think of good times, and probably enjoying a beer and maybe a joint by the Pacific Ocean with some friends for hours and hours. The upbeat lyrics and music of The Beach Boys made them one of the most famous and popular musical groups in history, and their album “Pet Sounds” is widely regarded as one of the finest albums ever produced.
They had numerous massive hits, including “I Get Around,” “Good Vibrations,” and “California Girls” but there was another song that was originally recorded as a B-side in late 1968 that has become famous for more reasons than simply being a good song. That’s because, believe it or not, the song “Never Learn Not to Love” wasn’t written by one of The Beach Boys at all. Nope, it was penned by a guy by the name of Charles Manson.
Yes, that is the Charles Manson, of mass-murdering family fame. Amazingly, before he became the psychotic cult leading killer we know him as today, he was a wannabe musician who befriended Dennis Wilson, one of the founding members of The Beach Boys, and he wrote a song called “Cease to Exist.” A title like that seems pretty fitting for a future killer, doesn’t it? Eventually, the friendship between Manson and Wilson hit some speed bumps, in part because The Beach Boys pretty much stole “Cease to Exist,” changed some of the lyrics, altered the music a bit, and released it as “Never Learn Not to Love” with Wilson taking sole credit for having written the piece.
Needless to say, Manson wasn’t thrilled with this turn of events, being a struggling musician and everything. He actually threatened to murder Wilson, because that’s kind of his go-to move. But hey, don’t feel bad, Dennis Wilson. You’re in good company. After all, Manson desperately wanted to kill Steve McQueen, too, and anytime you’re in the same company as the King of Cool, you’re in good shape.