When Toiling in Obscurity Leads to Greatness

The sun is shining, as it's always done
Coffin dust is the fate of everyone
Talking 'bout the rich folks
The poor create the rich hoax

-- Rich Folks Hoax, Rodriquez

  • Blue Oyster Cult
  • Jethro Tull
  • Led Zeppelin (ahhh Zep!)
  • The Clash (London Calling)

Such was my musical education…

When I was a wee Lad, maybe 10 or 11, my older brother SPUN records for me.

He FORCED me to sit & listen. To listen for hours on end.

At the pain of a dead leg or Lummee punch to the shoulder, resistance was futile!

And so it was I developed my taste for music.

One ditty that stood out was by this guy named Rodriquez.

An eloquent poet, he played a ballad I especially liked called Sugar Man;

Seems I wasn’t alone, millions of White South Africans were also ‘tired of these scenes” and longed for “those colors [of] my dreams.”

As the story goes, Rodriquez plied his trade in song for all but naught! Selling maybe 6 records before retiring to a life of obscurity and hard menial labor to the inner burbs of Detroit.

Unbeknownst to him, his status had risen to that of Elvis Presley in South Africa during the 70s and 80s. While that country was in lock-down. No news came in or out under heavy sanctions and censorship.

Folk ‘lore in Africa had it that Rodriquez committed suicide, no less on stage, by lighting himself on fire.