Malcolm McClaren Dies


I had no idea that Malcolm McClaren, a key personality in the punk movement, was Jewish. McClaren, who died yesterday at the age of 64, was apparently the child of an interfaith family: a Scottish dad and a Jewish mom. He was raised by his Sephardi grandmother, Rose Isaacs, whom he identified as a key influence. As Dave Simpson, the Guardian obituary writer put it, “His father left home when he was two and Malcolm was raised by his grandmother, Rose, who home-schooled him and fed him slogans such as “it’s good to be bad and it’s bad to be good”, along with a general distaste for the royal family.”

McClaren was the impresario of the Sex Pistols, the person who gave them their name and their image. (Distaste for the royal family, indeed! If you’ve ever heard “God Save the Queen” you know why Simpson thought it was important to say that!) He was also responsible for Bow Wow Wow and Adam Ant, two New Wave bands from the 80s.

2 thoughts on “Malcolm McClaren Dies”

  • Hi Anon.

    Where did you get the idea that Sid’s mother was jewish? It is obvious that Sid himself looks like jew but I’ve never heard anyone claiming so. Thanks for your answer if you notice this

  • i was very saddened to hear about Malcolm McLaren’s passing. he was a key figure in modern music, and although not everyone cared for his tastes or personality his contributions are still important.

    i discovered McLaren’s lineage in 2006 when i bought a copy of Steven Beeber’s ‘Heebie Jeebies Of CBGB’s’ for my non-Jewish partner, who happened to be a big fan of The Ramones (Joey and Tommy are Jewish, not sure about the rest). we were leafing through it when we stumbled across a photo from McLaren’s Bar Mitzvah. he was surprised to discover just how many Jews there were in the Punk world, as was i. supposedly, Sid Vicious was of Jewish descent (his mother was Jewish) and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen was Jewish. Johnny Rotten (whose gone by his birth name of John Lydon since the early 80’s) is not Jewish; he’s Irish Catholic and was very devout growing up (i read his autobiography, which i found to be quite enlightening and he’s not as weird as the media portrays him to be). even so, this was a really fascinating book and is great for anyone, Jewish or not, that wants to learn about the upbringing of some of modern music’s unique characters.

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