|Malcolm McLaren with Vivienne Westwood|
Happy birthday, Rock 'n' Roll Swindler!
McLaren was best known as the flamboyant, provocative manager of The Sex Pistols. Before then he
and his girlfriend Vivienne Westwood owned a store in Chelsea, West London called Let It Rock, which specialized in Teddy-Boy apparel.
The New York Times, in its obituary for McLaren, wrote, "After the New York Dolls visited the store, renamed Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, Mr. McLaren followed the group to the United States and became its manager. He dressed the band members in red clothing based on the Soviet flag, placed politically provocative slogans onstage and presided over their swift demise."
And then came The Sex Pistols ...
After the Pistols imploded, McLaren worked with bands like Adam & The Ants and Bow Wow Wow.
But he also embarked on a solo career of his own. His first solo album, Duck Rock (1983) featured a ouple of hip-hop DJs, South African-style music (years before Paul Simon) and even a little hillbilly music in the mix. It was wacky, but unforgettable.
Here are some of my favorite McLaren songs.
My second or third grade class at Nichols Hills Elementary School in Oklahoma City did a square dance to this one. It was a different version though ...
Speaking of square dancing ...
In have reason to believe, this will never be received in Graceland
All the above songs were from Duck Rock. The final one though is from his second album Fans, on which McLaren updated songs from actual operas. His take on "Madam Butterfly" with vocals by Debbie Cole and Betty Ann White (that beautiful soprano that seems to come out of nowhere.)