Throwback Thursday: Rodriguez

In the 1970s, Detroit native, Rodriguez, was not a household name in The United States. He was, however, more famous than Elvis in South Africa. Rodriguez wouldn’t know about any of that fame until the late 1990s. When I was in high school, my history teacher introduced my class to Rodriguez and his incredible story through the 2012 documentary; “Searching for Sugar Man”, and ever since then I’ve been obsessed.

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Rodriguez wrote music that was ahead of his time. He put his politically and emotionally charged lyrics to music that was inspired by Detroit’s Motown sound, and his Mexican heritage. Producers, like Mike Theodore and Clarance Avant who had worked with some of rock’s greatest hits, loved him, and claimed that Bob Dylan was the only songwriter of the time who was comparable to him. He sold less than 100 copies of his album in the US though, and he was dropped by his label, Sussex.

The tale of how Rodriguez became a success in South Africa is wild, and almost seems completely made up. Legend has it that an American girl traveled to South Africa to visit her boyfriend, and brought Rodriguez’s album “Cold Fact” with her. Her boyfriend and his friends ended up loving the album, but since this was during the Apartheid and the South African government was controlling the media, they couldn’t buy the record anywhere. So they started creating bootleg copies, and sharing his music with the rest of the country. Rodriguez’s songs actually became the anthems of revolution, and he became a rebel icon. His fans in South Africa knew nothing about him though. They didn’t even know where in the United States he was located.

A few years down the line, different newspapers were publishing stories about Rodriguez committing suicide on stage during his final concert. One paper claimed he’d lit himself on fire. Another claimed he’d shot himself. His fans were devastated. So Stephen Segerman, a record store owner, and Craig Bartholomew-Strydom, a music journalist set off on this journey to find out how Rodriguez died, and come to find that he’s still alive and living in Detroit.

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to see Rodriguez live at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, MI and it was an amazing show! Rodriguez is now 74 years old, and he lights up the stage with his positivity, talent, and presence. He played songs off both of his albums, and beautifully covered hits by The Doors, and Jefferson Airplane. I found myself smiling the entire time because the love that was exchanged from the audience, to Rodriguez, and back was truly magical. He writes and performs some of the most beautiful songs, so be sure to check him out!!

-Swaggie Maggie

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Throwback Thursday: “8 Days A Week”

If you know anything about me you know I’m obsessed with The Beatles. My perso14725488_1262885513762655_5821297976573951298_nnal philosophy is that they are the greatest band of all time, and they will continue to be the greatest band of all time for the rest of eternity. They cross every generation, and, quite frankly, were a driving force in creating the world of music we know today.

The Ron Howard film, 8 Days A Week: The Touring Years Highlights the early years of this iconic group, and even though I saw the film 3 months ago I still get chills when I think about the wondrous story it tells. I took a bus ride to a different college town in the middle of the week to see it on the big screen, and, to put it simply, I was amazed!

Starting out by performing at The Cavern Club in 1962, the group performed live until their final concert in San Fransisco in 1966. 8 Days A Week focuses on these touring years and provided an inside look at timg_2471he lives of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Something I didn’t know until after seeing the film is that The Beatles actually started the trend of stadium tours! No other group needed a venue as large as a stadium to contain all of their fans, but The Beatles’ popularity was stunning. Another thing I found interesting is that some of the band’s greatest hits weren’t even written until they stopped touring together!

Ending with beautifully remastered footage of their first, and the first, stadium show at Shea Stadium in New  York 8 Days A Week is a must see for any fan! I’ve got the DVD on my Christmas list this year!

-Swaggie Maggie