Thursday, April 8, 2010

Punk It Up

On this day in 1977 The Clash released their first album (pictured). Hence it is somewhat serendipitous that Malcolm McLaren died today, at age 64, of cancer, on the thirty-third anniversary of the release of this revered British “punk” album—not an album, of course, by the famous band McLaren packaged, The Sex Pistols, but a band that represented the British punk movement nonetheless. When McLaren was sued for “appropriating” others’ music to make his own album, Duck Rock (1983), he said: “All I can say is that accusations of plagiarism don’t bother me. As far as I’m concerned it’s all I’m useful for” (qtd. in Paul Taylor, “The Impresarios of Do-It-Yourself,” in Impresario: Malcolm McLaren and the British New Wave, p. 16). McLaren’s old adversary, John Lydon (no doubt deliberately adopting his former stage name for the occasion), posted on his website today the statement, “For me Malc was always entertaining, and I hope you remember that. Above all else he was an entertainer and I will miss him, and so should you.” The L. A. Times obituary is available here.

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