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Malcolm McLaren

A fashion designer, manager and music performer.

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Svengali, self-promoter, designer, performer and innovator. A tribute to one unique individual.

  • May 12, 2010
The world lost a very unique individual on April 8, 2010.  Malcolm McLaren, the self promoting music manager/ performer/ designer lost his fight with cancer but has left a legacy in both fashion and music that will probably will never be duplicated again by one person.  McLaren managed the Sex Pistols, designed their clothes and renamed the core unit of Steve Jones and Paul Cook (they were originally known as The Strand).  During this time period, he briefly managed The New York Dolls and tried to re-invent them (with disastrous results,  He used his experiences with the fledgling band and did everything the opposite when he started the Sex Pistols.  1975 was the beginning of the Punk movement in the UK and McLaren (along with his paramour Vivienne Westwood) changed the face of fashion and music with his "Sex Pistols". 

His designs were originally "Teddy Boy" influenced but he also incorporated S&M bondage designs along with the ripped t-shirt/clothes and slogan look that he saw whilst in New York when he was with The New York Dolls (his biggest influence was Richard Hell. whom he tried to recruit by giving him a three piece teddy boy outfit).  During the mid to late 70's, punk rock in the UK took off along with he popularity of The Sex Pistols and the many bands that were "inspired by them (The Clash, The Damned, Generation X, Siouxie and the Banshees).  But to his dismay, punk was becoming too mainstream for his "liking" along with his creation "the Sex Pistols".  The band eventually imploded due to a clash of egos (along with McLaren's heavy influence and tight fisted managing).  McLaren tried to keep the band together (in name only) to finish what would be his grand masterful ending to his involvement in Punk, a film about his band titled "The Great Rock n' Roll Swindle".

McLaren's next project was managing Adam Ant and giving the band a unique dual drum sound called "the Burundi Beat".  But ego clashes with Adam Ant along with his desire to create a new band to promote Westwood's fashion designs led him to form Bow Wow Wow.  McLaren persuaded The Ants to leave Adam and became the backing band for his latest discovery, a teenage girl named Annabelle Lwin who would front the band a create a stir in the process (post-punk band fronted by an underage girl).  McLaren tried to keep Annabelle's ego in check by introducing his latest discovery to the band Boy George aka Lieutenant Lush into the band as a co-lead singer.  Lush's quick departure and McLaren's tight fisted managing of the band led to his early exit as the band's manger.

Looking for the latest musical craze led him to hip-hop.  McLaren decided to become an artist himself and started work on Duck Rock (a mixture of African, Cuban, Square Dancing and Hip-Hop music).
The album was huge in the UK and the album had two top ten hits "Buffalo Gals" and "Double Dutch".
His next album was a fusion of Hip-Hop and Opera called Fans followed by Swamp Thing aka Duck Rock 2 (a disc filled with outtakes from Duck Rock).  Looking towards the fashion world once more, McLaren's next work was a mixture of Waltz music fused with Funk and Disco called Waltz Darling with music from the Bootzilla Orchestra (Bootsy Collins' band) and guitarist Jeff Beck.  Lisa Marie (the future muse of Tim Burton) appears on the song "Something Jumping in Your Shirt" (along with Bootsy Collins)/  The album is also noted for a pop song called "Deep in Vogue", a track about voguing that was later copied by Madonna.

The World's Famous Supreme Team Show (originally featured in the album Duck Rock) along with Malcolm McLaren would be reformed for the album Round the Outside, Round the Outside.  Not only is it an update/remix of Buffalo Gals but a fusion of Shakespeare and Rap along with opera.  A unique mix of music that featured the scratching of DJ Aladdin and a hip-hop versions of Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet.  Paris was the last album that McLaren would work on.  It's a concept piece that is a tribute to the fashion city of Europe.  Francoise Hardy and Catherine Denuve make vocal appearances on the album along with McLaren.  A few years later, a tribute of sorts in the form of a remix of Buffalo Gals from several old school hip-hop artists like Rakim. KRS-One and De La Soul who paid tribute to the man who introduced hip-hop to the mainstream.

The during the later years, his input in music would dwindle but his last contribution was the song "About Her" that appears in the film Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Buffalo Gals would be sampled by Eminem in his song "Without Me".  McLaren would capitalize on his fame by appearing in the UK's Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity....Get Me Out of Here!, was a producer on the film "Fast Food Nation", worked on a BBC Radio 2 documentary called "Malcolm McLaren's Musical Map of London".  Last year he was diagnosed with mesolthelioma and died from it's complications.  Love him or hate him, Malcolm McLaren was a very unique individual and he should always be remembered for his contributions to the pop world.

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March 26, 2012
He did make significant contributions to the pop world.
August 03, 2010
Never knew that about "The Strand"-- I assume a Roxy Music tribute? Jon Savage's chronicle "England's Dreaming" evokes this mid-70s glam-into-punk era well from one who was there.
August 07, 2010
Yeah, Steve Jones and Paul Cook were big Roxy Music fans.
May 17, 2010
Incredible review, Joseph. It seemed as though everything he touched turned to punk rock gold. Thanks for the info...I need to check out 'Paris' and 'Round the Outside...' now. ;)
May 18, 2010
Paris is a real good concept album with jazz music and features vocals from Francoise Hardy and Catherin Denuve. Check out Duck Rock (which I highly recommend) and it's videos on youtube. McLaren knew the importance of promo videos and recorded quite a few for the Sex Pistols, Bow Wow Wow and his solo projects.
May 16, 2010
Wonderful tribute to an eccentric man who revolutionalized the world of fashion and music.  Thanks for sharing, Joseph!
May 18, 2010
Malcolm McLaren was quite a character and a unique person. He will be missed.
About the reviewer
Joseph Ulibas ()
Ranked #30
I have been working on my web series Fine Feather Friends.
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Died on April 8, 2010.

Svengali , fashion designer, manager and music performer. 

Managed the Sex Pistols during 1975 through 1978 and created Bow Wow Wow.

Brought hip-hop to the mainstream with his album Duck Rock.

The first to combine hip-hop, dance and Oprea with the album Fans.

Briefly managed and designed clothes for The New York Dolls.

Was a romantic and business partner with designer Vivienne Westwood,
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Genre: Pop, Hip-Hop, Dance , Punk, Jazz, Rock & Roll
Debut: 1978
Country: England, UK
Birth Date: January 22, 1946
Birth Place: London, England
Gender: Male
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