The Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter’: Why Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson Covered the Song Together

In 2018, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson covered The Beatles‘ “Helter Skelter.” Zombie said the reason why they didn’t record the song earlier was because it was so “obvious” that neither of them thought to cover it. In addition, Zombie discussed what he thought about the track as a child.

The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison standing in a row
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison | John Pratt/Keystone/Getty Images

Charles Manson impacted how Rob Zombie listens to The Beatles’ ‘The White Album’

In his 1998 book The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, Manson wrote his stage name derives from Charles Manson and Marilyn Monroe. He said his stage name was supposed to represent the duality of humanity. In his view, the former and the latter both had good sides and evil sides.

The Manson Family infamously took inspiration from The Beatles’ songs such as “Helter Skelter.” During a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone, Zombie discussed the song. “For anyone my age you really cannot listen to The White Album or ‘Helter Skelter’ without the Charles Manson connection,” he said. “That’s all I associate it with, ever since I was a little kid.”

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Rob Zombie decided to he and Marilyn Manson should cover The Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter’ after they talked with each other

Subsequently, Zombie discussed why he and Manson covered “Helter Skelter” around the time they went on tour together in 2018. “We had been talking about doing something together for these shows — that he should come onstage during my set and we’d do a song,” he revealed. “But we couldn’t think of what song. After we talked, later that night I was home and I just thought, ‘The obvious song is ‘Helter Skelter’ … It’s so obvious that neither one of us thought of it!'”

Zombie explained why he and Manson recorded the cover. “And then I figured, well, rather than us just doing it onstage, why don’t we take it one step further and record it and put a new spin on it?” he added. “That way, rather than just doing some impromptu jam together, now the fans will go, ‘Oh, there’s the song I’ve already heard, and now they’re doing it.'”

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How ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘The White Album’ performed on the pop charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” was never a single, so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Its parent album, The White Album, was a huge hit. It topped the Billboard 200 for nine weeks, staying on the chart 215 weeks in total.

The Official Charts Company says “Helter Skelter” did not chart in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, The White Album was No. 1 in the U.K. for eight weeks. The White Album remained on the chart for 37 weeks altogether.

“Helter Skelter” had a disturbing history — but that didn’t stop Zombie and Manson from covering it.

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