“In undue haste, confusion or disorder” or “in a haphazard manner.”
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, Helter Skelter means “in undue haste, confusion or disorder” or “in a haphazard manner.” And the lyrics to the Beatles song of the same name seem innocent enough.
“Do you__ don’t you want__ me to love__ you
I’m coming down fast but I’m miles above you
Tell me, tell me, tell me, come on tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer
Helter skelter, helter skelter, helter skelter”
For their part, the Beatles said little about the invocation of their song as a justification by Manson. In a 1980 interview with Playboy, however, John Lennon said he wasn’t troubled by the fact that the lyrics were interpreted in a destructive manner.
“No, it has nothing to do with me. It’s like that guy, Son of Sam, who was having these talks with the dog,” Lennon said in the interview. “Manson was just an extreme version of the people who came up with the “Paul is dead” thing or who figured out that the initials to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” were LSD and concluded I was writing about acid.”
So it’s still rock & roll to me…John Lennon with these words, I believe, let people begin to assign meaning to lyrics; by giving no definitive answer during his interviews, with the exception of his responding to a comment taken completely out of context, “We are bigger than Jesus Christ in England,” was muttered as a joke to approximately 100 rabid reporters who had asked him, “do you ‘Fab Four’ have any idea of how big you are around the world?”
People wonder constantly why John was so quiet; the reality of the matter is that at one time John was in fact, the spokesperson for the entire band. But thanks to a hapless reporter, looking for fame prints this rubbish about The Beatles, John Lennon, and Jesus Christ! That is your reason for John’s getting quiet.
Actually, the song has nothing at all to do with ‘Helter Skelter’ although the world sure seemed as such when it was released, which was November 22, 1968.
I would encourage ⸻ Beatles fans ⸻ to see the site marked here for further information on how Pete Townsend, The Who, and others encouraged the making of Helter Skelter.