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Malcolm McLaren R.I.P

April 9, 2010

When I heard yesterday that Malcolm McLaren had died of cancer, I thought it was a shame, but didn’t feel it with the intensity I had for say, Michael Jackson, or Patrick Swayze (random, I know). Even when his achievements were rattled off, I was still shrugging my shoulders. I was around at that time as a child, soon to be a teenager when he was manager of the Sex Pistols. He was a large part of the fabric of British culture in the late 70s and early 80s, with his clothes store at the end of the King’s Road, Chelsea and his music. But something clicked this afternoon when a radio presenter played a song I hadn’t heard for years: Madame Butterfly. I’d forgotten how beautiful and hypnotic it was. I rushed to my mac to try and find it on YouTube. While I was there, I found other stuff I hadn’t heard for a long time. So here is a collection of Malcolm McLaren music.

We start with Madame Butterfly. The video is the kind of 80s pretentious nonsense we’re well shot of, but don’t be put you off by that. Just enjoy the music.

America in the 80s: breakdancing, scratching, early (proper) hip hop and other lovely stuff. This is one of two songs I bring to you from his album Duck Rock, which used music from Africa, central and North America.

Here’s another Duck Rock track. Joyful African sounds brought to the masses, along with a great video. I marvel at any physical brilliance, particularly if it’s dance based. Have a look at this.

I remember hearing this, years ago. I didn’t know it was a McLaren (with the Bootzilla orchestra). Another silly video, but a nice little song, nevertheless.

How could I not put this one up? For good or for ill, he brought the Sex Pistols to the world. It has often been quoted that they couldn’t play their instruments. If you compare them to a swing band, or classical orchestra, then you’d be right, but in their category, I thought they were OK. The energy is what counts in this game, baby.

Malcolm McLaren, rest in peace.

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6 comments

  1. I prefer the original PUCCINI’s “Madame Butterfly” Lol. The banned “God Save The Queen” caused an uproar in it’s day – I was about 10 at the time. The thing about the Sex Pistols is they revolutionised mainstream music – introduced some rebellion into music and attitude. Kids at that time probably wouldn’t be that interested whether they could play the instruments as well as others. Not my type of music but I understand their appeal. But as someone said … they flamboyantly disappeared after a year.


  2. I felt the same way about McLaren. I mean, I know he was pretty instrumental at bringing punk to the mainstream, but I also got the feeling he was more of a media creation than anything else.


    • Hello, Mediamugshot. Thanks for having a look at my blog.

      I think he was a master of self publicity and he certainly had a solid fan base, along with influential friends. I was not a fan of everything, but I did like some of the music, once I was reminded of it. That’s why I put those videos up on this blog.


  3. He was a bit of a self-publiciser and he was in it to win it as they say… Still, I wonder what music might have been, at least here in the UK (as America had its own, and controversially I think better punk scene) if we never had the Sex Pistols and God Save the Queen.

    But I don’t like them any more, and they could play more than 3 chords. Don’t think McClaren ever had a good solo song.


    • Well, they had their 15 minutes and Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) now advertises Butter!



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