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Former Sex Pistols Manager Malcolm McLaren Dies

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

For all its call to anarchy, the British punk movement had an outside international impact, in large part due to a classic impresario. His name was Malcolm McLaren, an artist, a fashion designer, a musician, and above all, a promoter. McLaren was 64 when he died yesterday. He will be remembered for what he did as an outrageous youth.

In the early 1970s, McLaren was running a trendy London boutique called SEX when he founded one of the eras most explosive musical acts.

(Soundbite of song, "Anarchy In The UK")

MONTAGNE: Malcolm McLaren gave the Sex Pistols their name and encouraged their angry, nihilistic image and sound.

(Soundbite of song, "Anarchy In The UK")

Mr. JOHNNY ROTTEN (Singer, The Sex Pistols): (Singing) I am an anti-Christ, I am an anarchist. Don't know what I want but I know how to get it. I wanna destroy...

MONTAGNE: From McLaren, the Sex Pistols were never really about the music. He was more interested in the band as a kind of performance art. Here he is talking with WHYY's FRESH AIR in 1988.

Mr. MALCOLM MCLAREN (Late Artist, Fashion Designer, Musician, Promoter): Most of the work that I've ever tried to initiate has always been through the nature of provocation. Make the ideas and exact the opposite feeling to what ordinary people would normally feel when they listen to a pop record. I'd rather have them jump out of their chair and destroy the radio that they listen to.

MONTAGNE: The Sex Pistols may have had that effect on some - maybe not everyone - but still they were hugely influential. Malcolm McLaren said that if the band was considered good that was just frosting on the cake.

(Soundbite of song, "Anarchy In The UK")

MONTAGNE: We're listening to "Anarchy In The UK" and you can find more on Malcolm McLaren, including videos, at NPR.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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