In his early years, the American singer and songwriter embraced a kind of cultural voodoo doll of ugliness. With lurid imagery, scathing lyrics and a viciousness previously unheard on the charts, Marilyn Manson put a funhouse mirror to the cracking facade of societal norms.
He became a popular scapegoat for his twisted music's detrimental effect on impressionable youth after the Columbine school shooting in 1999. Despite his public infamy, Manson is a far more thoughtful and articulate person than his media critics would have you believe.
The first album he ever made, Self-Help, was a schoolyard goth spooky affair with darkly sentimental lyrics that spoke of the "shock and awe" of the world and the "monstrous violence" of human existence. He toned it down for Mechanical Animals, released in 1998.
It was the glam rock pioneers of the 1980s who really influenced him. He wore different colored contacts to mimic David Bowie's and depicted himself with fiery red hair and prosthetic breasts on the cover.
His later albums remained as ferocious as ever, but toned down to focus on melody and sentimentality. He also purged his system of pure hate, and became much more considerate host in the process.
Whether you consider his music a cult classic or not, the fact remains that it shaped modern attitudes to violence and the broader scope of social issues in the US. And he was a powerful voice in the throes of this change, a figure of comfort for those who felt disaffected or misunderstood.