Malcolm McLaren Dead at 64
It scarcely matters what anyone thought he was . . . impresario, visionary, con artist, pop culture bomb-thrower, you name it . . . or what anyone thought about him. Malcolm McLaren, who passed on today at the age of 64, was an oddly necessary presence in the cultural landscape of the 1970s; popping up like the red-headed demon in some hitherto invisible Jack-in-the-box planted in our unknowing midst to forge, with that rockin' teenage combo he managed, the most fateful union of its time; that wedding of genuinely anarchic social impulse and legit showbiz which came to be known, and marketed, as Punk Rock.
Of course he wasn't the Svengali of his dreams (or ours), and his ultimate talent lay in the not-inconsiderable art of self-promotion. But he was there, right there in the center of it, when everything shifted and the radio sounded . . . different . . . and a million and one souls who thought it would never happen could turn on their TV sets and, for the duration of a song, no more, see themselves staring right back.
Here are three accounts of the life and times: