The story of Sixto Rodgriguez is a fascinating one. If anyone has seen the Academy award winning film “Searching or Sugarman”, the documentary outlining his life and delayed rise to fame will know this.
For those who don’t, Sixto Rodriguez was a drifter, a construction worker from Detroit whose lyrical content and entrancing voice was discovered in the 1960’s. Signed to Impact Records with promise of a career, dubbed “the new Bob Dylan” his only two albums, released 1970 and 1971 were a critical success yet a surprise chart failure.
Rodriguez quietly slipped back into his life, unbeknownst to him that he was a music legend in South Africa, selling hundreds of thousands of records. The South Africans saw Rodriguez as a prophet, a voice of reason in a disturbing apartheid, rumour having spread through the country of his suicide.
It wasn’t until Searching for Sugarman was in production, and a savvy investigative journalist tracked down the 71 year old that his music was finally appreciated the world over to adoring audiences, and is recording a new album!
Rodgriguez playing “Crucify your Mind” for French L’Express – 2013.
A MMM essay perhaps, but a worthy one.