Charles Milles Manson is an American criminal who led what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in California in the late 1960s. Manson and his followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations over a period of five weeks in the middle of 1969. Manson believed in what he called 'Helter Skelter,' a term he took from the Beatles' song of the same name. Manson believed Helter Skelter to be an impending apocalyptic race war, which he described in his own version of the lyrics to the Beatles' song. He believed the murders would help precipitate that war. From the beginning of his notoriety, a pop culture arose around him in which he ultimately became an emblem of insanity, violence, and the macabre.
Before the murders, he was a singer-songwriter on the fringe of the Los Angeles music industry, chiefly through a chance association with Dennis Wilson, drummer and founding member of the Beach Boys. After Manson was charged with the crimes of which he was later convicted, recordings of songs written and performed by him were released commercially. Various musicians have covered some of his songs.