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Punk rock pioneer McLaren dies at 64

| April 9, 2010 9:00 PM

LONDON (AP) - The former manager of the Sex Pistols and one of the seminal figures of the punk rock era, Malcolm McLaren, died Thursday, his son said. He was 64.

Joe Corre his father died of an aggressive form of cancer in Switzerland, declining to give the exact location.

"He was the original punk rocker and revolutionized the world," Corre told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

McLaren is best known for his work with the Pistols, whose violence, swearing, and antiestablishment antics shocked Britain and revolutionized the music scene. The band's chaotic career owed much to their manager's talent for self-promotion.

"Without Malcolm McLaren there would not have been any British punk," said music journalist Jon Savage, who wrote "England's Dreaming" - which chronicles the history of the group.

But McLaren, an art school dropout, was first known for his fashion, and the infamous clothes shop he opened on London's King's Road with his girlfriend Vivienne Westwood in 1971.

It was McLaren who gave the name Sex Pistols to the group of young men hanging out at his store. McLaren signed the group with EMI, and their first single, "Anarchy in the UK" came out in 1976.

The group would aggressively court controversy, becoming a household name after an expletive-packed appearance in a British television interview which drew a ban on the group's live performances in the U.K.

After being dropped by EMI for bad behavior, the group later signed with Virgin. Their second single, "God Save The Queen," whose title lyrics are rhymed with "fascist regime," was released during Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee celebrations - was an auditory assault on the monarchy which sparked widespread outrage and saw members of the band attacked in the street.

The controversy was no impediment to the groups' success, but the Sex Pistols fell apart during their U.S. tour, descending into acrimony and legal action. Their bassist, Sid Vicious, died of a heroin overdose in 1979 after he was accused of killing his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, in New York City in 1978.

Although the group had broken up after only one album, 1977's "Never Mind the Bollocks," their rebellious antics and raucous music would set the bar for the bands to come.

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