Malcolm Robert Andrew McLaren (22 January 1946 – 8 April 2010) was an English impresario, visual artist, performer, musician, clothes designer and boutique owner, notable for combining these activities in an inventive and provocative way. He is best known as a promoter and manager of bands the New York Dolls and the Sex Pistols.
Brought up unconventionally by his grandmother after his father, Peter, left the family home, McLaren attended a number of British art colleges and adopted the stance of the social rebel in the style of French revolutionaries the Situationists. McLaren realised that a new protest style was needed for the 1970s, and largely initiated the punk movement, for which he supplied fashions from the Chelsea boutique SEX, which he operated with girlfriend Vivienne Westwood. After a period advising the New York Dolls in the U.S., McLaren managed the Sex Pistols, for which he recruited the nihilistic frontman Johnny Rotten. The issue of a controversial record, “God Save the Queen“, satirising the Queen’s Jubilee in 1977, was typical of McLaren’s shock tactics, and he gained publicity by being arrested after a promotional boat trip outside the Houses of Parliament.
McLaren performed with acclaim as a solo artist, initially focusing on hip hop and world music and later diversifying into funk and disco, the dance fashion for “voguing” and merging opera with contemporary electronic musical forms. When accused of turning popular culture into a cheap marketing gimmick, he joked that he hoped it was true. His first album, Duck Rock was certified silver in the U.K. and spawned 2 top-10 singles: “Buffalo Gals” and “Double Dutch“.
In his later years, he lived in Paris and New York City, and died of peritoneal mesothelioma in a Swiss hospital.