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[UPDATE] Rest in peace, Malcolm McLaren: Former Sex Pistols manager, 'Buffalo Gals' rapper

April 8, 2010 | 12:19 pm

Malcolm McLaren, the former Sex Pistols manager who, along with designer Vivienne Westwood, helped create the look and feel of first-wave British punk, has died in New York. The polarizing figure, who got his start as the New York Dolls' manager in the early 1970s, cut a wide swath through the 1970s and '80s. When Johnny Rotten uttered the famous final words of the Pistols' career, "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" he was directing his ire at McLaren.

[Updated 1:27 p.m.: There were conflicting reports on where McLaren died. His agent had said that McLaren died in New York, although his son, Joe Corre, has confirmed that he died of cancer in Switzerland.]

Packaging the Sex Pistols for the world would have been enough to earn his place in the rock 'n' roll pantheon, but McLaren continued to offer ideas that made an impact -- though never again to the extent that he did with the Pistols. He discovered Bow Wow Wow singer Annabella Lwin, helped deliver the look and feel of the New Romantic movement, and, as an artist, created one of the great left-field hits of early rap, "Buffalo Gals," in which he merged a hip-hop beat with square dancing to create a curious, oft-sampled classic, most notably used in Eminem's "Without Me." (McLaren's later attempt at merging rap and opera proved less successful.)

The Times will have a full obituary in Friday's paper.

-- Randall Roberts