Searching for Sugar Man (12A)
3 August - 16 August 2012
Every so often a documentary comes along which astonishes you with a story that would seem unbelievable if it weren’t true. Searching for Sugar Man could best be described as a musical detective story about the search for a failed, forgotten genius of American songwriting.
Discovered in the late 60s by talent scouts in Detroit, Rodriguez had always been an enigma. Considered by many to be a homeless drifter and by others to be a prophetic street poet, he was poised for success when he was signed by former Motown Records chairman Clarence Avant. Hailed critically as the next Bob Dylan, Rodriguez’ two albums Cold Fact and Coming From Reality failed to perform commercially and his contract was terminated. The singer disappeared without a trace, leaving hardly any mark on American music history.
But thousands of miles away in South Africa, bootlegged copies of his records managed to find an underground audience. Rodriguez' anti-establishment lyrics struck a chord with young liberal whites opposed to the apartheid system. Selling an estimated 500,000 records, Rodriguez was more popular than Elvis and yet no one knew anything about the man behind the songs. It was widely believed that Rodriguez died tragically – the most widely circulated tales being that he'd overdosed, shot or burnt himself alive on stage. A music journalist and an intrepid fan set off to find out the truth about the man whose music had inspired a nation. Searching For Sugar Man is the amazing result of their journey.