R.I.P. Malcolm McLaren

The BBC is reporting that Sex Pistols’ svengali and artist-musician Malcolm McLaren has died:

Malcolm McLaren, the former manager of punk group the Sex Pistols, has died in New York, aged 64, his agent has said.

There have been a lot of famous pop music managers over the years, but none like McLaren. Though the veracity of who-created-who when it comes to The Sex Pistols debate rages on in some circles, there is no question that McLaren played a dominant role in the life of the short-lived British punk band.

Johnny Rotten may have written the lyrics, Glen Matlock may have written (a majority of) the tunes, but Malcolm McLaren helped them achieve their vision, gave them their stage and told the public why it was all relevant, and why they should be afraid of a handful of snot-nosed kids from London.

Of course, McLaren did a lot musically besides working with the Pistols. He helped build a career for British pop act Bow Wow Wow in the ’80s. There was his short stint with the New York Dolls. And then there was his own recording career, which included the 1983 album Duck Rock and the 2005 song “About Her” (a riff on The Zombies’ “She’s Not There”) that was prominently featured in Kill Bill Vol. 2.

These days, indie bands rely on hype to get some semblance of a career off the ground. Yet, no one quite understood the relationship between hype and art quite like Malcolm McLaren.

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