2010 – Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren has died after a cancer battle. He was 64.
He died this morning. Spokesman Les Molloy says: “He’d been suffering from cancer for some time, but recently he’d been full of health. It rapidly deteriorated.”
McLaren was one of the most colourful figures of the mid-seventies punk revolution, manipulating the Sex Pistols’ career so they became the mouthpiece of a generation.
The relationship between McLaren and the Pistols went sour but he remained involved in the music industry, managing bands including the New York Dolls and Bow Wow Wow, and even releasing his own singles.
He was a proponent of situationist art, which tries to encourage social change by underlining the absurdity of the way we’re made to live in the modern world.
Pistols frontman John Lydon, who was encouraged by McLaren but wound up disillusioned by the band’s image and the “Johnny Rotten” character that his manager influenced, says: “Malc was always entertaining, and I hope you remember that. He was an entertainer and I will miss him, and so should you.” On his website he signs his statement “Johnny Rotten”.
Ex-partner and former fashion collaborator Vivienne Westwood says: “When we were young and I fell in love with Malcolm, I thought he was beautiful. I still do. The thought of him dead is really very sad.”
BBC creative boss Alan Yentob comments: “Malcolm was a man of ideas. He was always thinking of the next one. He said his grandmother told him you need to be a bad boy to survive. He wanted to shock and surprise you. He loved the idea of it and sold it to the public, and understood what it meant.”
After the punk era McLaren wanted to manage the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but believed they had to change from their alt-rock ethic to create a more simplistic sound. Frontman Anthony Kiedis said: “We were flattered by his interest, but the answer was ‘no’.”
His body will be returned from Switzerland to the UK for burial at Highgate Cemetary. His son Joseph was with him when he died.