Monday, April 12, 2010

New Wave for the New Week #61: Goodbye, Malcolm

Malcolm McLaren in New York City, 1993.Image by via Flickr

Thanks to the neighborhood squirrels deciding my cable was tastier than any other on the block, I have been with only intermittent Internet service this past weekend. This is the first chance I've had to acknowledge the passing of one of the most important and polarizing figures in music over the past few decades, Malcolm McLaren.

Biography is not necessary here. You know who McLaren was. For those who need the details, Google will give you all want and more. Of course, he was most famous (infamous?) for unleashing the Sex Pistols upon the world, but the short list of bands with whom he worked his promotions magic also included The New York Dolls, Adam & the Ants, Bow Wow Wow and Jimmy The Hoover. Always the manipulator, McLaren was also a direct impetus for the implosion of most of those bands (trying to replace Johnny Rotten in the Pistols, stealing the Ants out from under Adam to create Bow Wow Wow, etc.) Whether he was good or bad for those bands or for the music scene in general depends entirely on your perspective; that he knew how to get his charges (and, more often, himself) a ton of press coverage - at least in the UK - is inarguable. Bow Wow Wow's Annabella Lwin shared her memories of McLaren upon his passing with Entertainment

Often people forget that Malcolm attempted a recording career of his own, with mixed results. His 1983 album Duck Rock was an unusual hodge-podge of sampling, scratching and world music that was generally met with confusion, but did garner him a modest club hit with the single "Buffalo Gals."

McLaren passed away on Thursday from mesothelioma. He was 64. In his memory, this week's NW4NW entry is the clip for McLaren's "Buffalo Gals."

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