June 10, 2022

Sixto “Sugar Man” Rodriguez to Receive Long-Awaited Royalties

Sixto “Sugar Man” Rodriguez, a musician who was overlooked in his native US but celebrated in South Africa, has finally been paid royalties for his chart-topping songs after five decades. 

After a lengthy legal battle with the record label Blue Goose Music, Rodriguez will finally be paid the missing royalties due from the bootleg albums, just in time for his 80th birthday next month.

The late 1960s and early 1970s would see a young Rodriguez writing and creating music. Although his music was dismissed by the Americans, it caught the attention of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. 

In South Africa, bootlegged copies of his albums, “Cold Fact” (1970) and “Coming From Reality” (1971) circulated along with rumours about the artist and his supposed death by suicide.  

While the socially-conscious singer grew in popularity in the rest of the world, this didn’t reflect in Rodriguez’s own life: based in Detroit, Michigan, he made a simple living as a construction worker.

South Africa’s Stephen “Sugar” Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom would change this by going on their own investigative journey to discover the story of the musician. Rodriguez was found alive and well in 1998, when he finally began to receive recognition.

His story was documented in the award-winning 2012 film, “Searching for Sugar Man”, which would also prompt the question of where his missing royalties went.

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