Marilyn Manson Felt He Inspired Guns N’ Roses to Cover a Charles Manson Song

Charles Manson had a number of connections to classic rock. For example, Guns N’ Roses covered Charles’ “Look at Your Game, Girl.” Subsequently, Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose and Marilyn Manson had different memories of why Rose first heard the song.

Marilyn Manson with a microphone
Marilyn Manson | Niels Van Iperen / Contributor

Marilyn Manson didn’t like Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose

An album of Charles’ demos titled Lie: The Love and Terror Cult was released in 1970. The most famous track from the album is called “Look at Your Game, Girl.” During a 1993 interview with The New York Times, Rose said he was introduced to the song by his brother.

In his 1998 book The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, Marilyn said something different about the cover. “So what happened with Guns N’ Roses was that Trent [Reznor] took me to a U2 concert one night and backstage I met Axl Rose,” he recalled. “He was very neurotic and was telling me all about his psychological problems, his split personalities, and I felt like, ‘This guy’s a total f****** flake.’ 

“Being the overzealous type, I started telling him about my band anyway,” Marilyn continued. “And I said, ‘You know we do this song ‘My Monkey’ and it’s an adaptation of a Charles Manson song off his album Lie.’ And he’s like, ‘I never heard of that before.’ I told him, ‘You should check out the album, it’s cool.'” 

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Guns N’ Roses’ cover was so controversial it inspired backlash to a Marilyn Manson song

Marilyn said he inspired Guns N’ Roses to cover “Look at Your Game, Girl.” “And lo and behold six months later Guns N’ Roses put out “The Spaghetti Incident?” and Axl Rose covers ‘Look at Your Game, Girl’ from the Lie album,” Marilyn said. “Then he started getting all that heat from Sharon Tate’s sister and everybody.”

Marilyn said the controversy surrounding Guns N’ Roses’ cover caused Nothing Records to try to get him to remove “My Monkey” from his album Portrait of an American Family. When he didn’t, the label wanted to drop his band. Ultimately, the album and the song were released in 1994.

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How ‘Look at Your Game, Girl’ and ‘My Monkey’ performed on the charts in the United States

Guns N’ Roses’ “Look at Your Game, Girl” was not a single, so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The track appeared on the album “The Spaghetti Incident?” The album reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 22 weeks.

Meanwhile, Marilyn’s “My Money” did not become a single either. Portrait of American Family did not chart on the Billboard 200. Marilyn would not find chart success until a later phase of his career.

Guns N’ Roses’ “Look at Your Game, Girl” is an unusual chapter in the band’s history — regardless of who inspired Rose to cover the song.

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