than fiction is the remarkable
story of a star who never was; a gifted
musician called Rodriguez discovered in
a bar in Detroit in the late Sixties who
disappeared into obscurity amid
rumours of an horrific death; until two
of his admirers found out his true fate in
the fascinating documentary Searching
For Sugar Man... HIS STAR WAS DESTINED NOT TO RISE in America in the late 1960s although
his future had appeared assured when two high-profile music producers, Dennis
Coffey who had worked with such luminaries as Marvin Gaye, The
Supremes and Ringo Starr and Mike Theodore discovered Rodriguez
in a Detroit riverside bar and co-produced his first album, Cold Fact,
released in 1970.
Hailed as the finest recording star of his generation, Rodriguez looked set
for instant success, but unexpectedly the album bombed and the artiste vanished
completely, sparking rumours of his suicide on stage by setting light to himself
or shooting himself.
For Sugar Man
is a fantastic journey of
discovery of the man
and his music
and a talent that cannot
music that gets deep
into your soul...
talent, however, was too big to be contained and Rodriguez rose from the ashes
thousands of miles away from his home, in apartheid South Africa. A copy of
Cold Fact found its way to Cape Town and led first to bootleg copies
and finally to his albums being released by a record company. Rodriguez was
finally being recognised for his exceptional musical ability.
South African youngsters, long restricted by apartheid, welcomed the beautiful
soulful melodies and inspirational prophetic lyrics that had convinced Dennis
and Mike that Rodriguez would be the next 'big thing' in music. And so he should
Everything had been in place to make it so, but such were the vagaries of the
music world, even back then, that Rodriguez did not make it in his native land.
Rodriguez has been described as an "inner City poet", writing about what he
saw on the streets; a "wandering spirit", a wise man and a prophet.
Without doubt, the phenomenal success he found in South Africa seems at odds
with his recordings not doing well in America. Certainly at that time he was
very much a man of mystery and it was not until Cape Town record shop-owner
Stephen "Sugar" Segerman and music journalist Craig Bartholomew-Strydon, both
ardent admirers of Rodriguez, decided to track him down.
Had Rodriguez really committed suicide? Was it possible that he could still
be alive? Determined to discover the truth, Stephen and Craig began their search
for the enigmatic musician.
Their investigations opened up a story more extraordinary that the existing
myths about the artist known as Rodriguez and to the release of Malik Bendjelloul's
compelling Searching For Sugar Man, a documentary about the Mexican-American
singer-songwriter whose original album should have secured his future.
The film, which has been described by BBC Radio 2 as "The Film Of The Year",
is about hope, inspiration and the resonating power of music. Searching For
Sugar Man is a fantastic journey of discovery of the man and his music and
a talent that cannot be ignored. Music that gets deep into your soul.
Rodriguez's music appears on the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, available
now through Sony Legacy Recordings and Light In The Attic Records. Comprising
tracks from Cold Face and its 1971 follow-up, Coming From Reality
(reissued to critical acclaim in 2008 and 2009 respectively), the soundtrack
begins with the other-wordly Sugar Man. This too long overlooked musician
entertains with a fusion of "gritty funk, political poetry and blissful psych-folk".
Rodriguez's recently rediscovered back catalogue is packed with social commentary,
brilliant tunes and a genuine psychedelic classic his album
Cold Fact. Anyone lucky enough to catch Rodriguez as he performed his songs
on his UK tour, which included The Royal Festival Hall in London as well as
Edinburgh, Dublin and Brighton, would understand why Rodriguez was such a phenomenon
in South Africa and would wonder why they had not known of him before.
With original songs by Rodriguez, Searching For Sugar Man is produced
by Simon Chinn and Malik Bendjelloul; Director of Photography is Camilla Skagerström;
Executive Producer is John Battsek; and Director is Malik Bendjelloul.
After receiving rave reviews upon it's theatrical release both in the UK and
around the world, Malik Bendjelloul's acclaimed documentary of singer-songwriter
Rodriquez has been named on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
shortlist for the Best Documentary.
the Academy Award-winning Producer of Man On Wire, Searching For Sugar
Man is released on DVD, Blu-ray and EST, courtesy of StudioCanal, on 27