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Malcolm McLaren, 64

Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, dies at 64

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By Raphael G. Satter
Friday, April 9, 2010

LONDON -- The former manager of the Sex Pistols and one of the seminal figures of the punk rock era, Malcolm McLaren, 64, died of cancer April 8 in Switzerland, his son, Joe Corre, said.

Corre declined to give the exact location of his father's death because he said he wanted to avoid a media scrum.

"He was the original punk rocker and revolutionized the world," Corre said. "He's somebody I'm incredibly proud of. He's a real beacon of a man for people to look up to."

The multitalented Mr. McLaren rose to fame as the colorful manager of the Sex Pistols, but the art college dropout is also known for the infamous clothes shop he opened on London's King's Road with his then-girlfriend, Vivienne Westwood, in 1971. The shop changed its name and focus several times -- operating as "SEX," "World's End" and "Seditionaries" -- before the couple split.

Music journalist Jon Savage, who wrote "England's Dreaming," a history of the Sex Pistols and punk, said that "without Malcolm McLaren, there would not have been any British punk. . . . He's one of the rare individuals who had a huge impact on the cultural and social life of this nation."

Although the Sex Pistols broke up after only one album, 1977's "Never Mind the Bollocks," their rebellious antics and raucous music would set the bar for bands to come. Their bassist, Sid Vicious, died of a heroin overdose in 1979 after he was accused of killing his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, in New York City in 1978.

Mr. McLaren's career in music wasn't limited to managing the Pistols. He also had a regarded solo career in which he blended genres and acted as a kind of music curator. In the early 1980s, he had key songs in hip-hop, including the hit "Buffalo Gals," and brought different textures to the developing genre; in his career, he worked in electronica, pop and even opera.

In addition to music and fashion, Mr. McLaren also dabbled in journalism and filmmaking, working in Hollywood with directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg. Corre, his son with Westwood, would continue the family tradition of blending shock with success, co-founding designer lingerie chain Agent Provocateur, which sells its risque, high-end wares across the world.

Mr. McLaren is survived by Corre and his longtime partner, Young Kim.

-- Associated Press

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