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Episode 68 : Paul Gorman on Malcolm McLaren + R.I.P. Bill Withers & Hal Wilner

13 April 2020

In this week's podcast – the second to be recorded remotely under the Covid-19 lockdown — Mark, Barney & Jasper are joined by special guest Paul Gorman to discuss his long and multi-faceted career... and his epic new biography of Malcolm McLaren. We also hear clips from the week's new audio interview: a 1989 conversation with "Malcy" himself, wherein the former Sex Pistols manager and professional provocateur voices his disdain for the music industry, his becoming an artist in his own right… and his despair at the passing of rock's pagan gods.

Paul also pitches in with his thoughts on the late Bill Withers, joining his hosts in celebrating the life and work of a unique singer-songwriter – and the dignity of a man who came late to fame and chose to walk away from it without regret. After hearing a clip of Bill speaking in 2004, the makeshift gang of four pay tribute to two more victims of the coronavirus: John Prine, discussed at much greater length in Episode 62, and Hal Willner, maverick mastermind behind such unorthodox tribute albums as 1988's Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films.

Finally, Mark talks us through his highlights of the week's new library load, including pieces on Nancy Sinatra and her walking 'Boots' (1966), Joel Selvin's Sid Vicious obituary (1979) and Annene Kaye interviewing the other Gang Of Four on a park bench in 1983. Jasper offers his tuppenceworth on a So Solid Crew profile from 2003 and a 2018 review of Prince's posthumous Piano and a Microphone album… and we say goodbye until the next time.

Many thanks to special guest Paul Gorman; his new book The Life and Times of Malcolm McLaren is published by Constable. Visit his website at