Page last updated at 01:29 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 02:29 UK

Obituary: Malcolm McLaren

Malclom McLaren
Malcolm McLaren, pictured here in the 1970s, was a tireless impresario

He shot to fame and notoriety as the man who guided the Sex Pistols into the pop charts in the 1970s.

But Malcolm McLaren, who has died aged 64, had already become a fixture on the London punk scene.

The performer, impresario and tireless self-publicist first made his name when he opened a shop selling fetish clothing with Vivienne Westwood.

He continued to generate headlines, appearing in reality show Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack in 2008.

Exiled to Paris

McLaren, who also enjoyed a solo music career, was born in London in 1946 and raised by his grandmother in Stoke Newington.

When he was six years old, his mother remarried but McLaren never got on with his stepfather.

He's one of the rare individuals who had a huge impact on the cultural and social life of this nation
Music journalist Jon Savage

He attended St Martin's College Of Art and Goldsmiths College in the 1960s and followed the political stunts of the Marxist-influenced Situationists in France.

McLaren and Westwood set up clothing shop Let It Rock on King's Road in Chelsea and the business was later renamed Sex.

In late 1975, McLaren brought a group of shop regulars together as the Sex Pistols. He dressed the band in his outfits and under his management they courted controversy.

In 1977 he was arrested on the Queen's Silver Jubilee after sailing down the Thames on a boat with the band where they played their anti-establishment song God Save The Queen.

A year later, in 1978, the Sex Pistols set off on a tour of the US. But the band members returned on separate flights, and they split - amid accusations that McLaren had mismanaged them and withheld money.

McLaren's life was rarely anything but colourful. He was once exiled to Paris because of fraud allegations against him in London arising from the antics of the Sex Pistols.

McLaren kept the Sex Pistols' contract rights until one member of the band - John Lydon, who went by the name of Johnny Rotten - took him to court in the 1980s.

Lydon eventually won and gained complete control from McLaren. The pair refused to speak to each other after the band's split.


Malcolm McLaren
In 1999, McLaren announced plans to join the race to be London mayor

McLaren and Westwood had a son, Joseph Corre, who became the co-founder of the world-famous lingerie chain, Agent Provocateur.

McLaren managed the New York Dolls shortly before launching the Pistols and later launched Bow Wow Wow, for whom he penned a number of songs.

Following his management career McLaren created his own musical projects, releasing the first of his albums, Duck Rock, in 1983, and having UK hits with singles including Buffalo Gals, Double Dutch and Madame Butterfly.

In 1999, an alternative career seemed to beckon when he announced plans to join the race to become London mayor. The "punk godfather" said he would stand as an independent candidate with a manifesto including legalised brothels and selling alcohol in libraries.

In November 2007, aged 61, Malcolm was due to become a contestant on the ITV reality show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! but pulled out, claiming the show was a "fake".

Tributes have been paid to McLaren, who died from cancer.

Music journalist Jon Savage, who wrote England's Dreaming, the award-winning history of the Sex Pistols and punk, said: "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."

Creation Records founder Alan McGee described his late friend as a "visionary".

And despite their differences, former Pistols frontman John Lydon issued a tribute, signed Johnny Rotten, which said: "Above all else [Malcolm] was an entertainer and I will miss him, and so should you."

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific