Jewish Journal

Punk impresario Malcolm McLaren dies at 64


April 9, 2010 | 3:02 am

Malcolm McLaren, the Jewish punk impresario who launched the Sex Pistols upon an unsuspecting world, has died.

McLaren, 64, died Thursday at a Swiss hospital of mesothelioma, a cancer, news media reported.

He was raised by his maternal grandmother, Rose Isaacs, a member of London’s venerable Sephardic community. He often quoted her as saying “To be bad is good, and to be good is boring.”

In the early 1970s, he and his then-partner, Vivienne Westwood, ran a clothing boutique and were part of that city’s bleak, nihilistic arts scene.

In 1975, he brought together the Sex Pistols, a group that emphatically—sometimes violently—eschewed the forms and function of pop music. The group’s songs and albums—including “God Save the Queen,” which savaged the monarch as a fascist—were banned, which was the point.

The band broke up in 1978, and its members and McLaren spent the next decade mired in lawsuits over ownership of the music and the name.

McClaren backed other bands and recorded music himself, dabbling in early experiments with hip-hop and techno.

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