Sixto Rodriguez, singer-songwriter of ‘Looking for Sugar Man’ doc, is useless at 81

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Sixto Rodriguez, singer-songwriter of ‘Looking for Sugar Man’ doc, is useless at 81

Sixto Rodriguez, the musician whose story was documented within the movie Looking for Sugar Man, has died at 81. He had minor success within the U.S., however was stunned to be taught his music was a success overseas.

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

The musician Rodriguez has died at age 81, an extended life by any customary, however particularly for his most passionate followers who as soon as thought he died a long time in the past.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

MALIK BENDJELLOUL: Everybody knew his songs. Everybody knew his albums, and everybody knew that Rodriguez was utterly useless.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

That’s movie director Malik Bendjelloul speaking with NPR’s Scott Simon in 2012.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

BENDJELLOUL: There’s one story that he shot himself useless on stage. Then there’s one other story that he OD’d, and that is how he died.

KELLY: None of those tales have been true.

SUMMERS: You see, Rodriguez, whose full identify was Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, was alive and nicely dwelling in Detroit when these rumors have been swirling. However unknown to him, he was a famous person in South Africa.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “THIS IS NOT A SONG, IT’S AN OUTBURST: OR THE ESTABLISHMENT’S BLUES”)

SIXTO RODRIGUEZ: (Singing) The mayor hides the crime charges, councilwoman hesitates, public will get irate…

KELLY: Rodriguez put out his debut album in 1970. On the time, his lyrics have been in comparison with Bob Dylan, his voice to James Taylor.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “THIS IS NOT A SONG, IT’S AN OUTBURST: OR THE ESTABLISHMENT’S BLUES”)

RODRIGUEZ: (Singing) This method’s going to fall quickly…

KELLY: His music profession did not take off within the States, although. Ultimately, he hung up his guitar and began doing demolition and building work as an alternative.

SUMMERS: However within the Southern Hemisphere, his anti-establishment songs caught on, particularly amongst white South Africans in opposition to apartheid.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

BENDJELLOUL: Nobody is aware of precisely how the album got here, however when it got here, it simply unfold.

KELLY: Now, it is not clear how the rumors about his demise got here to be both.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

BENDJELLOUL: And after 30 years, two detectives in South Africa, like music journalists – who mentioned there are completely different tales. Which story is the true one? They usually discovered the producer. They name him, and they’re, like, filled with questions. And an important factor – how did he die? And he says, no, I noticed Rodriguez this morning. He is dwelling down the road.

KELLY: Bendjelloul’s 2012 movie about Rodriguez’s rediscovery referred to as “Looking out For Sugar Man” – it received an Oscar. It adopted Rodriguez as he went to South Africa to tour, lastly face-to-face with the followers who thought they might by no means see him carry out.

SUMMERS: Afterward, Rodriguez instructed NPR that it was a privilege.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

RODRIGUEZ: It is a dream come true. And it is a – and who would have thought?

SUMMERS: Sixto Rodriguez died Tuesday – truly. His official web site introduced his demise however didn’t present a trigger.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “SUGAR MAN”)

RODRIGUEZ: (Singing) Sugar man, will not you hurry? ‘Trigger I am uninterested in…

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NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content might not be in its closing type and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability could fluctuate. The authoritative file of NPR’s programming is the audio file.

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