Known by his last name, he was a poor first-generation American of Mexican descent born in Detroit in 1942, and he rummaged through his emotions to write song lyrics, which are often compared to that of Bob Dylan. After two albums won critical acclaim but no sales, he returned to hard physical labor for decades. Somehow, against all odds, his albums sold heavily in South Africa – outselling both Elvis and the Rolling Stones. Only, Rodriguez never knew it and became a cult enigma.
Bob Dylan would never do this, but Rodriguez would perform with his back facing the crowd, focused on his inside world, not distracted by his eyes. Maybe, that is the reason Rodriguez never knew he was a superstar elsewhere. Maybe, that wasn’t interesting enough to him. But, his lyrics are haunting. They roll around and germinate in your mind. I understand “hello only ends in goodbye” but what is a “store bought soul”? Is that the same as the “authenticity” that existentialists extol endlessly?
Few things are black-or-white, all-or-nothing. But, what percentage of your thoughts are focused on the outside world instead of the inside world, and how will you know if that is the right percentage for you?