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Friday, April 9, 2010

RIP Malcom McLaren 1946-2010

British rock and roll producer Malcom McLaren has died at age 64 at a hospital in Switzerland. From the Sun MALCOLM McLaren was the outrageous icon who boasted that he invented punk rock - and unleashed the Sex Pistols on the world.

The legendary impresario, who died yesterday, achieved notoriety when the band's anti-establishment single God Save The Queen hit No1 during Her Majesty's 1977 silver jubilee.

Last night Pistols frontman John Lydon, dubbed Johnny Rotten, said: "For me Malc was always entertaining, and I hope you remember that.

"Above all else he was an entertainer. I'll miss him and so should you."

McLaren was the manager of the New York Dolls, a hard rocking New York City act that failed to catch on nationally, when he moved back to London to open a fashion botique with his wife Vivienne Westwood. He took a group of louts who lurked around his shop and made them into the band the Sex Pistols, who transformed garage rock into the Punk Rock industry. The Pistols only studio album was held off the charts, but is reportedly the best selling album of all time in the UK.

McLaren wrote the book on promotion and marketing, his slogan being "Do not give the game away" aptly applied to his stunts such as signing a contract at Buckingham Palace and getting the band raided on a River Thames cruise near Parliament. This from an oldies band of 19 year olds playing Johnny B. Goode and Roadrunner, labelled as Punks, for having the attitude of soccer hooligans towards Rock and Roll.

I'll challenge you to listen to the screeching lyrics (over the metal guitar) on Bodies (written by Cook, Rotten, Vicious, and Jones) and you'll find one of the most tradition minded and life affirming songs in the rock and roll canon, but recorded as Punk. That McLaren was able to pull this off, and make a boatload of money in the meantime was no mean feat.

For you critics...the Wapella connection. #1 Roger Ebert, nephew of longtime Wapella greats Martha and Bill Stumm produced and wrote the script to The Great Rock and Roll Swindle with Malcom McLaren, but was bounced from the movie due to various well founded disagreements. #2 My wife and I went on a buying mission to Vivienne Westwood's (Mrs. McLaren's)design shop in NYC to get samples for a mainstream department store, thus completing the circle from "punk" to products that do not seem at all out of place at Eastland Mall. #3 McLaren knew a lot about Rock and Roll, brought back the classic rock and roll sound that was disappearing in the mid-1970s and that is always greatly appreciated in Hog City. #4 Jones and Cook could show up at the Irish Circle claiming to be old pals from Beason High who went to VoTech in Lincoln in the 70's with some Wildcats and no one would bat an eye.

Here's a good song (minus Sid plus Glen Matlock), The Pistols covering the Who's Substitute. Click and enjoy on the YouTube site.

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