This article originally appeared on Noisey Australia on September the 25th, 2017, but we're republishing it today because Charles Manson has died.
Music has long been a powerful tool in the dissemination of religious propaganda and the recruitment of followers and worshippers. As true as this is for the hymns in the big church, so it's been for the fringe dwellers of religious freedom – the cult leader. It's appropriate that some individuals with God/prophet complexes have such ego-driven aspirations as rock stardom – rock and roll being the real cult of youth since The Beatles.
But not all were as successful creating quality jams as they were in brainwashing and sex crimes. Here is a look at the varying quality of some of the most successful American cults since the 1960s, from worst to best.