There are rare few moments of great television.
Last night offered us such a moment.
On CBS’ “60 Minutes,” the long lost hermit singer-songwriter Rodriguez was featured in the third segement. This was one of the most heartwarming and inspiring stories I’ve ever seen on a program that has given us many extraordinary memories over the years.
The segment told the remarkable story of a long-forgotten folk singer from Detroit, simply named Rodriguez. Forty years ago, he made two albums, both of which bombed commercially in the United States. So, Rodriguez essentially quit the music business entirely and spent the next three decades working as a day laborer. He stayed poor, living in a run-down shack outside of Detroit.
Meanwhile 15,000 miles away on the other side of the world, his records somewhow caught on in the nation of South Africa. During the fall of Apartheid, he unknowingly became a huge star, although he never received a dime in royalties nor knew of his fame in that faraway land. South Africans who knew every song and rang Rodriguez’s lyrics presumed he was dead.
But Rodriguez was very much alive.
This remarkable segment tells Rodriguez’s life story, which eventualy led to a movie which is out now called “Searching for Sugarman.” The tale of how the movie, which debuted this year at the Sundance Film Festival, came to be is just as moving emotionally — shot largely on an iPhone by a one-man production team with no budget led by a broke Swede, who heard about this amazing Cinderella tale and decided to make a film which has now changed both of their lives.
If you cherish the notion that art is not a commodity but a state of consciousness, or if you simply want to sit back and enjoy a great story, I urge you to watch this clip: