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Celebrate Rodriguez

Updated: Jan 11

Sixto Rodriguez (July 10, 1942 – August 8, 2023), From Detroit, Sixto Rodriguez (who recorded as simply, Rodriguez), led one of the most remarkable lives and careers of all. A pair of early albums - 1970's Cold Fact and 1971's Coming from Reality - sold few copies in the US, failing to break into a market saturated with white, male, singer-songwriters. Dropped by his label Sussex, Rodriguez withdrew to live modestly, lifestyle, in a derelict house purchased for $50 at a government auction and working in construction, demolition and production line work.

But by the mid-70's his albums were getting airplay in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa.

When imported copies of his Sussex albums were sold out, an Australian record label, Blue Goose Music, bought the Australian rights to his recordings. Blue Goose released his two studio albums as well as a compilation album, At His Best, that featured unreleased recordings from 1973. The album went platinum in South Africa and Rodriguez was being compared to contemporaries such as Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens.

Rodriguez was also successful in Australia and performed two concert tours across the country in 1979 and 1981.

In 1991, both of his albums were released on CD in South Africa for the first time, which helped preserve his fame. However, few details of his life were known to his fans and it was rumored that he had killed himself during a concert in the 1970s

Despite his success abroad, Rodriguez's fame in South Africa had remained unknown to him until 1997 when his eldest daughter, Eva, came across a website dedicated to him.

This became a catalyst for a career resurgence, with Rodriguez touring to festivals and sell out concerts in South Africa and Australia, and his songs being used in movie soundtracks and covered by other artists.

He would enjoy even greater success in 2012, with the release of Searching for Sugar Man, an Oscar-winning documentary about his life and the South Africans’ quest to find him. The film won BAFTA and Academy Awards in 2013. Subsequently, Rodriguez appeared on the David Letterman, Jay Leno and Jools Holland shows, 60 Minutes and his touring schedule broadened to include Glastonbury and Montreux festivals

Rodriguez toured the United States and Canada as recently as 2018. He headlined a tour in August 2018, ending with a hometown show at Detroit's Garden Theater.

Rodriguez and the process of his rediscovery was the subject of a 2022 episode of Outlook on the BBC World Service.

Read more: Wikipedia

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