We’ve all heard the stories of famous artists who are never discovered until long after they’ve gone to that great studio in the sky.
We take some comfort from knowing that eventually they have got their just reward but that view is quickly tempered by the reality that they would have died feeling that they’d failed.
Wouldn’t it be great if just for once we were able to redress the balance and catch the creator of a forgotten masterpiece before he vanished from this earth? Let him know ‘That thing you made that we thought sucked balls? Well we were wrong. It’s awesome!”
‘Searching for Sugar Man’ is just such an uplifting story, an amazing and unlikely tale of long lost Detroit musician, Sixto Rodriguez, who is tracked down by rabid fans in another part of the world.
For it turns out that his brilliant album ‘Cold Facts’ was a huge hit in of all places, apartheid South Africa.
White South Africans grow up with the album as the soundtrack to their young lives. Yet despite it’s massive success no one knew a thing about the artist. State control of media made it all but impossible to get information and it was only years later when two obsessive fans began the hunt for the man everyone assumed had committed suicide.
As Rodriguez sold about 6 records in America very few their could be of any help at all. Yet such is the power of fan worship, our intrepid South African explorers didn’t give up and eventually discover their hero alive and well and living in Detroit
It helps that the man they find is one of the nicest and most genuine human beings ever to grace the earth. There is not a shred of rancor or bitterness in his demeanor. Here is a man comfortable in his own skin that has achieved the one thing we all want, to leave something behind us outside of our families that the rest of the world admires and values.
For any that haven’t heard the album and it’s great follow up ‘Coming from Reality’, the best way I can describe the sound is this is what happens when Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder have a love child.
Listen for yourself and once you’ve done buy the albums and rent the movie. At the very least you’ll revel in this uplifting story, which shows you that sometimes life can be surprisingly wonderful.