The TV advert says that the “Searching For Sugar Man” soundtrack “includes 3 previously unreleased songs” but this is not true.
“Street Boy”, “Can’t Get Away” and “I’ll Slip Away”, recorded in 1972/73, were first released on the Australian “At His Best” album. They are also included as bonus tracks on the 2009 US release of “Coming From Reality” (which is known as “After The Fact” to South Africans).
The “Searching For Sugar Man” soundtrack album also leaves off “Rich Folks Hoax” which contains the classic opening line “the moon is hanging in the purple sky”. Sugar Man – The Best Of Rodriguez is a better collection for rounding up his best and most popular songs.
Meeting Rodriguez, dressed head to toe in black and wearing sunglasses seemingly designed to protect him from the glare of a Western sunset, is like meeting a super-hip uncle you never knew you had. He presents the crinkled hand that looks like it has lifted a thousand cinder blocks and strummed endless gentle guitar chords, and smiles broadly.
Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man is everything a documentary should be: poignant, passionate, and honest. It’s a successful treasure hunt for a dead man that spans two continents, and provides an ending Rudy Ruettiger would be proud of. It’s a story about the power of music, the power of living without regret, and the power of possibility. And it’s all true.
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest ’70s rock icon who never was. Discovered in a Detroit bar in the late ’60s by two celebrated producers struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics, they recorded an album which they believed would secure his reputation as the greatest recording artist of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, he became a phenomenon. The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation leads them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez.
“Stunning. One of the greatest, and most moving documentaries ever made.” ★★★★★, Q Magazine
“A hugely entertaining, emotionally touching, and musically revelatory experience” – IndieWire
“to South Africans in the early ‘70s he was their Beatles and Dylan combined” ★★★★, Mojo