How the Charles Manson Song ‘Cease to Exist’ Ended up on the Beach Boys Album ’20/20′ (Under a Different Name)

The Beach Boys had some surprising celebrity friends, with Dennis Wilson even living with some of Charles Manson’s family. In fact, one song written by Manson appeared on a Beach Boys album. Here’s what we know about the track “Cease to Exist” and its new name on 20/20.

Charles Manson befriended Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys

Rock and roll band The Beach Boys pose for a portrait (Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, David Marks)
Rock and roll band The Beach Boys pose for a portrait (Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, David Marks) | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Best known as a cult leader and the criminal behind the Manson family, Manson also wrote and released original music. Even today, music by Manson is still available on most major streaming platforms. 

“Look at Your Game, Girl,” credited to the criminal, currently has more than 2 million Spotify plays. The cult leader also had a close relationship with Dennis Wilson, who was one of the founding members and the drummer for the Beach Boys.

A song by Charles Manson was recorded and released by the Beach Boys

Authors Dylan Howard and Andy Tillett of The Last Charles Manson Tapes: Evil Lives Beyond the Grave mentioned a Manson song that made it onto a Beach Boys album. That was a song titled “Cease To Exist,” reworked by Dennis Wilson and retitled to “Never Learn Not to Love.” 

“Wilson indulged Manson’s musical grandiosity,” write Howard and Tillett. “He and Manson jammed together and made a few attempts at collaboration. He arranged for recording time in a Santa Monica, California, studio.”

“Cease to resist, come on say you love me,” the lyrics read. “Give up your world, come on and be with me / I’m your kind, I’m your kind, and I see.”

Members of Charles Manson’s cult lived with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys

The collaboration (and friendship) between Wilson and Manson remains a unique connection in music history. At one point, some members of the cult stayed at Wilson’s mansion, overstaying their welcome when one member of “the Family” wrecked an uninsured Ferrari, costing him an exorbitant amount of money.

“Despite kicking them out, Wilson remained on friendly terms with the Family,” the authors continue. “That would change. By some reckonings, the expenses and damage to Wilson’s property that had been run up by Family members exceeded $100,000.” 

“Since no money was likely to be forthcoming from Manson,” they wrote, “Wilson simply appropriated Manson’s song ‘Cease to Exist’ and reworked it into ‘Never Learn Not to Love,’ which appeared on the Beach Boys album 20/20.”

The Beach Boys’ “Never Learn Not To Love” has 800,000 Spotify plays, making it one of the lesser-known tracks. Even other members of the Beach Boys didn’t know Manson wrote the song until later.

Of course, the Beach Boys are known for hits like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “God Only Knows,” “Kokomo,” and “I Get Around.” The band did not maintain their connection to Manson, especially after the death of Dennis Wilson in 1983.

RELATED: 1 Founding Member of The Beach Boys Let Charles Manson and His Followers Move in and it Cost Him $100K