By the mid-’70s, he'd largely packed it in, went to college and settled down in Detroit doing construction work and other jobs. But his music took on a life of its own — as did rumors about his life — and Rodriguez became a cult hero in countries like Australia (he came out "retirement" to tour there in the late ’70s and early ’80s) and South Africa, where his songs were embraced as anti-apartheid anthems. In the late ’90s, Rodriguez was reportedly able to retire from his construction job thanks to his belated success.
Searching for Sugar Man told the story of two South African fans' mission to track down the elusive singer. The acclaimed documentary revived Rodriguez's career again — to say the least. According to Rolling Stone, in the span of about two years, Rodriguez — who is now 77 — went from playing the 190-seat capacity Joe's Pub in NYC to performing (after the film's success) at the large Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn. A new Rodriguez studio album has been hinted at over the years since the film but has never materialized. The concert LP Rodriguez Rocks – Live In Australia was released in 2016 on Light in the Attic Records, a longtime, dedicated Rodriguez supporter. Last year, Universal Music reissued his early ’70s albums on vinyl and CD.
Searching for Sugar Man is streaming now on Netflix.
8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14. $50-$85. Ludlow Garage, 342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, ludlowgaragecincinnati.com.