Malcolm McLaren, the former manager of The Sex Pistols and the man who claimed to have invented punk, has died aged 64.
McLaren died in New York this morning after a long battle with cancer.
His spokesman, Les Molloy, said the impresario had been suffering from cancer for some time and he expected his body would be returned to the UK shortly.
An unashamed self-publicist, McLaren gained notoriety as manager of the Sex Pistols who were propelled to No 1 in the charts with God Save The Queen in 1977. Having brought together the roguish band members he went on to become a household name in his own right, entering into the public spotlight again in recent years when he stood for the newly created London mayoralty in 2000. His policies included the serving of alcohol in libraries.
Having dropped out of art school – McLaren said the experience taught him “that it is better to be a flamboyant failure than any kind of benign success” – he made a first foray into music management in the early 70s after convincing the New York Dolls to employ him as manager.
The band flopped at the time, but the experiment, complete with red leather and Soviet-style clothes, heralded the start of a career-breaking ground in fashion and music.
McLaren, who was born in North London, frequently professed to leading the capital’s avant garde art scene during the 70s.
He opened a shop in fashionable King’s Road 1971 with his then girlfriend Vivienne Westwood. The shop was renamed SEX in 1974 and quickly gained iconic status drawing in the “young, sexy, assassins” who would become the Sex Pistols.
The couple had a son, Joseph Corre, the co-founder of lingerie shop Agent Provocateur.
His reputation was carved by the success of the Sex Pistols and an eye for publicity stunts which would grip the British and American culture scene through the 70s.
McLaren also managed a number of other bands, including Bow Wow Wow before producing his own records including the much-sampled track Double Dutch from the 1983 album Duck Rock.
He continued to be involved in the culture and arts scene up until his death, earning him in equal measure acclaim as a doyen of music and design and criticism for his marketing of pop culture.
A few days late with this story… but anyway, he was perhaps more of an exploiter of the arts than a practioner, but nevermind his bollocks for now, RIP Malcolm… maybe I wouldn’t have discovered the Sex Pistols without you.