Sunday, January 20, 2013

42 Years Ago Today – 
The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ Played in Court During Manson Trial
by Sterling Whitaker, January 19, 2013
John Pratt/Keystone/Getty Images
In 1969, terror and paranoia swept through the film and music communities of Los Angeles after actress Sharon Tate, Hollywood hairstylist Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski and 18-year-old Steven Parent were brutally murdered in a house on Cielo Drive. In a bizarre twist to an already sensational story, the Beatles‘ ‘White Album’ wound up being played in court during the subsequent murder trial of Charles Manson, who claimed to have planned the killing spree because of messages he believed were buried in the music.

Manson was the self-styled leader of a group of quasi-hippie misfits called the Family. He had once entertained notions of a career in music and had long been a fringe character in L.A.’s music scene, hanging around with Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson and even recording a demo at his expense.

Manson’s paranoid delusions eventually led him to conceive the notion that the lyrics from certain Beatles songs — most notably ‘Helter Skelter,’ ‘Revolution 1,’ ‘Revolution 9,’ ‘Blackbird’ and ‘Piggies,’ all from the ‘White Album’ — were calling him to stir up racial unrest in order to bring about a race riot in which the black population would rise up against the white population and topple the existing order, creating a situation in which he and the Family would be installed as the new hierarchy.

In a scene truly stranger than fiction, the ‘White Album’ was played in court on Jan. 19, 1971 during the Manson trial for the murder of Sharon Tate. Jurors listened intently in order to ascertain if the Fab Four had, indeed, called Manson to his nefarious deeds through song, but when it turned out that  — surprise! — Manson and his followers were simply crazier than hell, they were subsequently convicted and sentenced to death.

In 1972 the death sentence was abolished in California, automatically reducing Manson’s sentence to life in prison. He has been denied parole on 12 separate occasions since then, most recently in April of 2012, when a ruling found that Manson would not be eligible for another parole review for 15 years.

19 comments:

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Yes I know...
Technically, it's 42 years ago yesterday (not today), but whatever...

Deal with it... LOL

MrPoirot said...

I think Judge Older played that album during all of his trials he presided over after the Manson case. Charlie must have brain washed him from the defendents desk. Older even wore a tie-dyed robe and granny glasses.

BTW did everyone see the pics of the guy who tried to assassinate the politician in Bulgaria? He got his face smashed. I have always wondered why Squeaky wasn't pummeled too when she tried to assissinate Pres Ford. That chick really needed a good ass kicking to knock some sense in her head, if that's possible.

katie8753 said...

Mr. P, you crack me up!

We used to have a laugh about this, that or the other, in a light-hearted way, and some intellectual would read us, some symbolic youth generation wants to see something in it. We also took seriously some parts of the role, but I don't know what Helter Skelter has to do with knifing someone. I've never listened to it properly, it was just a noise. - John Lennon

Here are some interesting quotes from Paul, John & Manson on Helter Skelter:

http://www.beatleswiki.com/wiki/index.php/Helter_Skelter

sunset77 said...

love me do

Mrstormsurge said...

Recall when I was even younger than I am now, I heard some nutcase on the radio say that if you peeled back the cover of the White Album that you'd find the cover of the Butcher Baby album. So, I took my brother's WA and peeled and peeled.....people, THIS RUMOR IS NOT TRUE

Lauren Webster said...

Ringo said something about it too, he said how they were friends with Roman Polanski and how they were glad they caught Manson. I think I read they sent flowers to Polanski too.

That's gotta suck to be dissed by one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

matt prokes said...

At least the jurors got to listen to some good tunes.

Doc Sierra said...

NINERS!!!!!!!!!!
WHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

Doc Sierra said...

If Baltimore wins it will be a Harbowl......

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

PATRIOT FEVER!!!

Doc Sierra said...

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

PATRIOT FEVER!!!
--------------------------
Ok Skynyrd. Just because I like you I'll root for New England. After all, Brady's from the same part of the Bay Area I'm from. If they win you owe me.

Lauren Webster said...

Once again, dont know whats more embarrassing: Shaving your head and crawling for miles while people look at you, or being dissed by the Beatles.

johnnyseattle said...

lathough his team won, watch jim harbough revert to childhood with this epic slow motion reaction.

he really looks like a petulant child...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrbSGroWlns

me, i am rooting for the sane harbough. that would be john.

katie8753 said...

>>>Lauren said: Once again, dont know whats more embarrassing: Shaving your head and crawling for miles while people look at you, or being dissed by the Beatles.>>>

That's a toss up. Hmmmm... the jury's out on that one Lauren. They're both equally embarrassing....

katie8753 said...

>>>Matt said: At least the jurors got to listen to some good tunes.>>>

I wonder if they got to hear "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?"

Where did Charlie get a record player anyway? From the stolen Sears credit card? LOL

Doc Sierra said...

I guess it was just Baltimore's day. My condolences Skynyrd.

katie8753 said...

I'm sorry Baltimore won too....

G'night Jugdish.

beauders said...

from what manson had a battery operated recorder player made for kids.

starship said...

The Butcher Shot album cover was for Yesterday and Today...not the White Album. So peel that one away instead. The White Album, being all white, might not even have any paper to be peeled.