Manipulators, Murderers, and Their Music




The music industry has acquired its fair share of crazies. Many, in fact, almost a majority of musicians have suffered from some type of mental illness. But there are a few that stand above the others in terms of severity. Listed below we have some of the most notable murderers who happen to be involved in the music industry as well. 


Phil Spector

The famed producer was probably one of the most influential in the music scene and he did it for decades. Creator of the Wall of Sound which would serve as inspiration for many famous musicians and was revolutionary in the producing world. Spector was arguably one of the most, if not the most, important producers of the century. Working with just about every big name in the book. He didn’t work for artists, they worked for him. However, the legendary producer would go on to be convicted of the murder of actress Lana Clarkson in the early 2000s. Her body was found dead in Spectors California mansion. Spector would claim that her death was the result of an accidental suicide but witnesses and further evidence would prove otherwise. Spector would be sentenced 19 to life in prison for the murder of Clarkson and would die in a prison hospital in 2021.


Jim Gordon

Session musicians don’t generally don’t get much attention but Jim Gordon was one of the greats. The session drummer played with big names since he was a kid, when he was 17 he turned down a music scholarship so he could back the Everyly Brothers and start his career. After his start he continued to play with big names and on important albums. He played on records like the Beach Boys famous 1966 album Pet Sounds, George Harrsions All Things Must Pass, he played with the Byrds, Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa, John Lennon and a long string of other musicians. Becoming one of the most sought after session drummers, Gordon reached quite a level of success. He developed schizophrenia well into his career and heard voices that, according to him, told him to starve himself, stopped him from sleeping, and even prevented him from playing drums. He was misdiagnosed and his physician reportedly treated him for alcohol abuse instead. Gordon had apparently shown signs of violence before, punching his girlfriend while on tour with Jim Cocker in the 70s, according to witnesses. Then, in 1983 the drummer attacked and killed his elderly mother. First bludgeoning her with a hammer and then finishing the job with a butcher knife. Gordon said in court that the voices told him to do it. He was diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia. Today he still remains incarcerated at the California Medical Facility.

Charles Manson

Everybody and their mother knows about the infamous Charles Manson. The cult leader of the 60s and the leader of the Manson Family, the cult that carried out 9 murders. What is not as well known about him is his musical career, or lack thereof. Manson tried for many years to get a record deal with no success. However, Manson began fraternizing with many influential musicians and garnered some curiosity and interest about his music. One of his biggest and most important fans would be Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. Who met Manson when we picked up some women hitchhiking to happen to be part of the infamous Manson family. Wilson and Manson reportedly caught on really quickly, doing drugs, lounging around Wilson’s house. Manson, taking advantage of the situation, made a point of pitching his music to the famous and influential Wilson and to his great happiness, Wilson loved it. He even tried at one point to make Manson into a member of The Beach Boys which was met with harsh reactions from his fellow bandmates. Even with their aversion to the cult leader, Dennis Wilson would convince them to cover one of Manson’s songs “ Cease to Exist” and record it under a different name “ Never Learn Not to Love” but gave no credit to Manson. Wilson and a record producer who had also become somewhat close with Manson then cut ties with him around 1969 when they started to become wary of his behaviors. Then of course, the string of murders committed by the Manson family would occur and even though Manson himself never got his hands dirty or ordered the murders, the court decided that his ideology of what he preached to his followers was enough to convict him. He served out his life sentence in california and died in late 2017 at 83. His music went on to gain a cult (no pun intended) following. An album of his demos was released, Lie: The Love and Terror Cult (1970) and it was actually not bad. A few artists would actually go on to cover some of his work.