Remembering Malcolm McLaren 


Malcolm McLarenMalcolm Robert Andrew McLaren
22 January 1946 – 8 April 2010

Malcolm McLaren, music impresario and former manager of The Sex Pistols, has died aged 64 after a long battle with cancer.

McLaren was a dominant cultural force in both music and fashion and pioneered the British punk movement.

Born to Pete and Emmy McLaren in the suburbs of post-World War II London, he was raised by his grandmother in Stoke Newington. He once told interviewer Andrew Denton on his Enough Rope programme that his grandmother always said to him: ‘To be bad is good... to be good is simply boring’.

It was a philosophy McLaren took to heart. After being expelled from a succession of art colleges in the 1960s, McLaren began designing clothes, opening a shop on the Kings Road with his then-girlfriend, fashion designer Viviene Westwood.

After spending time in America with the band the New York Dolls, McLaren returned to the UK in April 1975, renaming the shop SEX and selling provocactive S&M influenced clothing.

By this time, McLaren was managing a band called The Strand. After introducing bassist Glen Matlock and bringing in John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) as the frontman, the band were renamed The Sex Pistols.

Ever the controversialist, McLaren released the band’s single God Save the Queen during the week of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, resulting in predictable levels of public outrage and cementing his own notoriety in the process.

In October 1977, The Sex Pistols released their album Never Mind the Bollocks. In later years, it would come to be hailed as one of the most influential albums of all time - but by January 1978, it was all over for The Sex Pistols. The band split up during their US tour.

Never one to let the grass grow under his feet, McLaren went on to manage Adam Ant and Bow Wow Wow. By 1983, he had released an album of his own, Duck Rock. With heavy African and US rap influences, the album was influential in bringing hip-hop to a wider audience in the UK. Two of the singles from the album Buffalo Gals and Double Dutch became top 10 hits in the UK.

In the early nineties McLaren had moved into television, but had returned to recording by 1993, releasing the album Paris.

More recently, McLaren co-produced the film adaptation of Fast Food Nation and presented the documentary series Malcolm McLaren's Musical Map of London for BBC Radio 2. This was followed in 2007 by Malcolm McLaren's Life and Times in LA.

Malcolm McLaren leaves behind a son Joe Corré, whom he had with Vivienne Westwood.

Nigel Elderton, Deputy Chairman MCPS commented:

“Malcolm was irascible, bright and incredibly talented. I had the great privilege to represent his catalogue over the past years during which time we became good friends. I will miss him terribly.”


Read M magazine's interview with Malcolm from December 2009


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