Producer Malcolm McLaren Dies

Written by on April 8, 2010

Whether or not you agree with the man who once said he invented punk rock, Malcolm McLaren‘s place in music history can hardly be challenged. Among the many fingerprints he has in the industry, McLaren put together the innovative Sex Pistols, founded Bow Wow Wow (which launched the career of Annabella Lwin) and brought an array of odd musical mixes to the masses in the 80s and beyond. He finally succumbed to cancer earlier today at age 64 according to his longtime companion, Young Kim, who confirmed the news to the New York Times.

After managing the New York Dolls for a bit, he put the Sex Pistols together with John Lydon as the frontman. Controversy was the business plan, and it helped that McLaren and the group hooked up with genius entrepreneur and future multi-billionaire Richard Branson‘s new label, Virgin Records. He new how to promote and make news with a daring edge; he might be considered alternative music’s answer to baseball’s famous owner/promoter Bill Veeck.

In the 1980s, McLaren’s experimental pop sounds became international hits. His 1983 album Duck Rock produced two smashes, including the jump-rope game-inspired “Double Dutch.” He mixed modern urban pop, new wave and traditional South African and South American music in the LP. Among his talented cohorts for the creation were Thomas Dolby and Trevor Horn.

In 1984, McLaren took the art of hip-hop sampling a bit further, mixing urban R & B with opera in the album Fans. His music could also be heard in British Airways commercials in the 80s and 90s.

McLaren continued to promote and produce music through the 2000s, including 2009’s Shallow — Musical Paintings.

Malcolm McLaren will be remembered as a huge influence on a wide variety of musical styles, including UK Punk, old-school hip-hop and modern non-mainstream R & B. While he may not have truly invented the punk genre, his work will continue to be looked upon by future artists as landmarks in the history of music.

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