Saturday, August 11, 2012

You're More Famous Than Elvis!

Imagine the following scenario. You're relaxing in your comfortable armchair by the fire in your modest Michigan home after a long day of hard labor, watching the snow falling gently outside the window. Then, the phone rings. You assume it is one of your daughters on the other line and are surprised when a stranger speaks. Curiousity surmounts when you detect the strange accent in the speaker's voice. It's not an agent with your credit card company demanding payment. It's not a long-lost high school buddy calling to catch up. It is a reporter from South Africa telling you that in his country, you are more famous than Elvis Presley.

This is what the singer-songwriter known only as Rodriguez heard one day in the 1990s. After giving up on his musical career when his two records flopped in the United States long ago, that was the last thing he expected to hear. This is the true tale documented in the film Searching for Sugarman.

It is a strange tale indeed. Rodriguez's reaction when he is told he is a superstar in South Africa is nothing short of unfathomable. So are the reactions of his daughters. They seem unaffected by such enormous news, hardly believing it at all even after they are brought to South Africa for a concert by their father. Yet the reporter calling Rodriguez is giddy like a child on Christmas morning. As far as he knew for many years, Rodriguez, whose voice bears a shocking resemblance to his contemporary Bob Dylan, was dead. After reasearch and what seemed like a wild goose chase of calls to record company representatives, the truth came out.

This film is sure to please music enthusiasts or anyone who likes a unique story. As I said, the most enjoyable aspect to me was to behold the unfathomable reactions of the family to the situation that unfolded and could have altered their lives forever. Though likely not showing in many theaters due to its obscurity, if you can find it, definitely check it out.

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