2:45 p.m. | Updated
Malcolm McLaren, the impresario, promoter and self-promoter who once claimed to have invented punk rock, and who assembled and managed the youthful, unruly members of the Sex Pistols, the breakthrough British punk band, has died. He was 64. His companion of many years, Young Kim, confirmed that Mr. McLaren died on Thursday, and said that he died of mesothelioma at a hospital in Switzerland.
In the 1970s, Mr. McLaren returned to his native London from New York, where he had briefly managed the New York Dolls in the waning days of that band’s career. With his business partner and girlfriend at the time, Vivienne Westwood, they renamed their clothing shop Sex, and Mr. McLaren set about putting together his own rock act of untested British youth, which became the Sex Pistols.
Fronted by John Lydon — whose repugnant appearance and Irish background earned him the stage name Johnny Rotten — with Steve Jones (guitar), Paul Cook (drums) and Sid Vicious (a bassist who replaced original member Glen Matlock), the Sex Pistols terrified traditional music sensibilities with songs like “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “God Save the Queen,” and fueled Mr. McLaren’s flair for over-the-top spectacle: he arranged for the band to sign its contract with A&M Records outside Buckingham Palace, and organized a private boat performance of their “God Save the Queen” on the Thames that was quickly shut down by the police, cementing the group’s rebellious reputation.
As a solo artist, Mr. McLaren released genre-defying albums like “Duck Rock” in 1983 and “Waltz Darling” in 1989, and remained a perennial presence in the worlds of art and fashion.
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