Malcolm McLaren, Without Whom.

I gasped when I read the headline yesterday that Malcolm McLaren had passed and sat in silence in complete disbelief staring at the screen for what seemed like hours. This could not be, he was only 64 years old. I owe a lot to this man. For without Malcolm McLaren, all of the music that I adore, this blog and all that it champions, sometimes against great odds, simply would not exist. 

Malcolm McLaren's long-reaching influence on this blog began in 1976 when his assistant Bernie Rhodes spotted a green-haired John Lydon walking down London's King's Road with his "I HATE Pink Floyd" t-shirt. I guess the rest is our history. 

1978 was the end for the Sex Pistols, and many wondered whether John Lydon had thrown it all away, effectively abandoning the audience he'd mobilized and who were now looking for leadership. The forming of Public Image Ltd. was the beginning of that leadership; the beginning of the first wave. Public Image Ltd. was the beginning of what this blog is all about.

1984 then officially closed the door on the first wave of postpunk music, the "new wave," the door having been opened by Malcolm McLaren. His influence is beyond compare; after he invented the Sex Pistols, managed an early incarnation of Adam and the Ants, and assembled BOW WOW WOW, he essentially brought hip-hop music to the UK. With his very own Duck Rock, he also hand delivered one of the earliest releases in the multi-cultural world music movement, preceding others by almost ten years. 

Of all the fond tributes to Malcolm, this one is by far the best: 

Before Malcolm being a musician in England meant you had to read music, and clock up years of dues and motorway miles, hours of practice and play interminable solos wherever possible. 

Malcolm's attitude changed everything. Without him, no punk rock revolution, no 'Anarchy in The UK,' no 'Never Mind The Bollocks...' No Sex Pistols, no Clash... No Duran Duran. 

Punk was just the beginning for Malcolm. His exposure to the beginnings of hip-hop in New York in 1981 caused him to produce his solo masterpiece "Duck Rock," the single from which, "Buffalo Gals" introduced the rest of the world to "All this scratchin’ is making me itch..." and graffiti art. 

Malcolm and Vivienne Westwood created, time and again, the most successful marriages of music and fashion ever...Bow Wow Wow's pirate style, Sex, Seditionaries...for his contribution to fashion alone he shall be remembered as the greatest rock stylist of the twentieth century. An extraordinarily complex character with intense passion and curiosity. 

He was a true artist, and a continual restless source of inspiration. There will never be anyone quite like him again. 

John Taylor, April 8, 2010 

So I tell you goodbye Mr. McLaren. I tell you goodbye with great sadness, for we have come to the end of a road. I tell you goodbye with great sadness, for you have told me that music matters. 

Photo: Fantastic Man via Vino NYC 
Material: Waist High 
John Taylor courtesy: duranduran.com